Kenneth Josephson: The Bread Book

By Matthew Carson   Thursday July 3, 2014

The Bread Book by Kenneth Josephson (1973) is a small booklet of twenty pages printed in offset. Starting with the front cover, which shows, besides the title, the cap of a loaf of bread. Each sheet progressively shows the front and back of all ten slices of a small loaf of bread. The back cover therefore shows the other end of the loaf. 

Josephson created this book in direct response to the photo story sequences that were being created and published by Duane Michals at about that time.

“If you look at a Duane Michals book you see it and you get it, and you never look at it again,” Josephson said. “With The Bread Book there is nothing to get. You can even look at it backwards.”

What started life as a fairly cheap and affordable book now retails for quite some dough. 

Photos: Matthew Carson

Kenneth Josephson was born on July 1, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan and he is one of the early and influential practitioners of Conceptual photography. Layering his images within other images and playing with the act of picture-making, investigating the nature of truth and illusion in the photographic medium. He is one of the great photographers of the latter part of the 20th century. Information. Happy birthday, Kenneth!

Matthew Carson is a Librarian and Archivist at the International Center of Photography [ICP] in New York. Information. He is one of the committee members of the Contemporary Artists’ Book Conference at the New York Art Book Fair [NYABF] and is also a co-founder of the 10×10 Photobook organization. In 2013 he was a curator of the book component of the ICP Triennial: A Different Kind of OrderInformationInformation. As a photography enthusiast and bibliomaniac he is the editor and a writer for the ICP library blog, Monsters & Madonnas.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of posts from Matthew Carson on unusual books in the collection of the Library at the International Center of Photography.