House of Bondage

Ernest COLE

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Item#: 60120 price:$550.00

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“CARRYING HIS SEDITIOUS PICTURES AS IF THEY WERE DIAMONDS”: FIRST EDITION OF COLE’S HOUSE OF BONDAGE

COLE, Ernest. House of Bondage. New York: Random House, (1967). Tall quarto, original cream cloth, photographic endpapers, original dust jacket. $550.

First edition of the first and only photobook by Ernest Cole, “a searing exposé” of apartheid (Parr & Badger II), with 180 memorable black-and-white photogravures.

“A searing exposé of the social and economic effects of apartheid on South Africa’s black population, House of Bondage was banned by the government…Authored by a self-taught black South African photojournalist, Ernest Cole, [it] shows his experience of apartheid from the inside. To do this, Cole managed to get himself officially reclassified as ‘coloured’ rather than ‘black… gaining for himself more freedom of movement to carry out his self-imposed assignment” (Parr & Badger II:93, 106). Cole eventually “fled South Africa, carrying his seditious pictures as if they were diamonds. They were soon published by Random House. At 27, he found himself… on top of the world and a long way from home” (New York Times). Though House of Bondage made him the “hero for a generation of aspiring photographers; despite the success of the book, he never worked again in his homeland, and died penniless and in exile in the United States in 1990… A work of genuine quality… the comprehensiveness and humanity of its view is the reason for both its banning in South Africa and the plaudits it garnered elsewhere” (Parr & Badger II: 106). Text by Thomas Flaherty.

Book fine; very lightest edge-wear to price-clipped dust jacket, about fine.

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