ALVERMANN, Dirk. Algerien. L’Algérie. Algeria. Berlin: Rütten & Loening, 1960.


Algerien. L’Algérie. Algeria.
Berlin: Rütten & Loening, 1960.

8vo (179 × 108 mm), pp.[224]. 161 black-and-white photographs. Plain endpapers. Photo-illustrated glazed paper-covered boards, text in green and white; endemic toning to endpapers, leaning slightly, light wear to spine-ends, laminate lifting slightly at hinges. Near-fine.

First edition. The Hamburg-based publisher Rowohlt had initially offered to publish Alvermann’s Algeria photographs, however, this offer was rescinded when it became apparent that the subject matter would offend the French. Alvermann then took the project to East Germany where his anti-colonial stance was enthusiastically accepted.

Alvermann designed and sequenced the book himself, deliberately making it small so that it could be distributed discretely, and passed from person to person in the same way that other political material and manifestos were disseminated. ‘The narrative is extremely elliptical, filmic in nature and derived from the notion of the montaged movie sequence developed by such Russian filmmakers as Sergei Eisenstein… Alvermann piled up the imagery in an idiosyncratic way, unafraid to chop up or repeat pictures, making this one of the most creative photobooks of the early 1960s and a benchmark for the many subsequent volumes that were devoted to the various colonial conflicts being fought throughout the decade’ (The Photobook).

Parr, M. and Badger, G., The Photobook: A History vol.III pp.190-1

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