Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reading Photographs

Anyone interested in more Eggleston covers should follow Ben Levine's tip and check out Karl Baden's Covering Photography, which lists eleven book covers by Eggleston.

Eye Trouble by Martha Ronk (1998)
featuring the photo Tears by Man Ray

Although eleven covers might seem like a lot it's far from the most. According to CP, Man Ray tops the list with forty-one noncommissioned covers including the one shown above. Below are the next ten. No real surprises but still interesting I think.

2. Dorothea Lange (36)
3. Andre Kertesz (30)
T4. Walker Evans (26)
T4. Bill Brandt (26)
6. Joel Meyerowitz (24)
7. Ralph Gibson (23)
8. Henri Cartier-Bresson (22)
9. Brassai (20)
T10. Bruce Davidson (18)
T10. Julia Margaret Cameron (18)

What about photographs? Which ones appear on the most book covers? I haven't found an easy way to check this other than sorting through covers individually. Some top candidates are Dorothea Lange's Tractored Out (4), Berenice Abbot's James Joyce (4), Andre Kertesz' Martinique (3), Bruce Davidson's Brooklyn Gang (3), Bill Brandt's Nude (3), and Rudy Burkhardt's Brooklyn Bridge (3). Can anyone out there find a photograph that appears on more than 4 book covers?

Covering Photography lists over 2,500 photographic covers, each with publication information, a cover shot, and often some supporting text. It's quite a site. After spending a few hours researching just a handful of Eggleston albums, I humbly give props to Baden's huge effort. Someone should create a similar site for album covers. Any volunteers?


paul said...

very interesting blake
where is robert frank...
maybe he would not love to appear in this kind of listings?

Karl Baden said...

Thanks for the interest, Blake. You may also want to know about 'Imitation, Influence and Coincidence', which can be found at:
This is the online version of an exhibit which stretches the concept behind Covering Photography.
I'm presently backlogged in covers to upload to the site. About a hundred more should be added in the next couple of months.
As for Robert Frank, he has a number of covers in the database. Whether or not he would love to appear in the listings, he is too important to be excluded.
find his covers here: