“COMMITMENT TO THE HUMAN SPIRIT”: SCARCE ASSOCIATION COPY OF HEATH’S DIALOGUE WITH SOLITUDE
HEATH, Dave. A Dialogue with Solitude. New York: Community Press / Horizon, 1965. Quarto, original gray cloth, original photographic dust jacket. $6000.
First edition of Heath’s seminal photobook, featuring 82 vibrant duotone plates, this scarce association copy signed by photographer Margery Lewis Smith, longtime partner of this book’s dedicatee, renowned photographer W. Eugene Smith.
Shortly after its publication in 1965, Dave Heath’s Dialogue with Solitude was recognized as one of the decade’s most important photobooks. “Working under the heady influences of Robert Frank, Aaron Siskind and Eugene Smith, Heath forged a style that felt at once intimate and reportorial… Dialogue with Solitude is a period piece that resonates” (Village Voice). “A book that has achieved cult status,” Heath’s photobook is particularly noted for its attempt “to photograph internal emotions… [by investigating] the essential solitude of an individual through a series of sequences” (Parr & Badger II:104). MoMA curator John Szarkowski praised Heath’s luminous images for combining “the freedom and spontaneity of the small-camera approach with a rare formal intensity and precision. His pictures possess stability, simplicity and great emotional fire.” Arranged in ten sequential sections, the work is anchored by “several photos Heath made while serving in Korea in 1953, a year that he describes as his ‘defining moment’ as a photographer” (Village Voice). This notable copy is from the library of photographer Margery Lewis Smith and is signed by her. Smith was the longtime partner of the book’s dedicatee W. Eugene Smith, who is paid further tribute in Heath’s preface, praising him as one who “chose, as an affirmative value of life, engagement in and commitment to the human spirit.”
Book fine; small closed tears, light rubbing to bright near-fine dust jacket. A near-fine copy with a notable association.