MARKER (Chris) (Editor/ contributor).
Including first edition copies. Small 8vo., 31 volumes, all of those including contributions from Marker, [approx 192pp. each], profusely illustrated in b&w and in the original colour photo illustrated stiff paper wrappers with numerous b&w photos in the text and plates in a single vivid colour. French text. Paris, Editions du Seuil, 1954-1970.
The condition spans a range of fine to ex-library copies. A full set of the guide books initiated by Marker at Editions du Seuil in Paris. These volumes being the special editions identified on a lithograph poster that Marker made with artist Jason Simon for Light Industry in 2006. A complete set of the Marker volumes are exceptionally rare, I can find no record of institutions holding a full run. Particularly scarce are Chine (1961) and Japon (1970); featuring Marker's cover photograph taken from his 1965 film The Koumiko
A complete set of the highly respected travel books initiated and edited, for the first nineteen volumes at least, by avant-garde filmmaker Chris Marker. The country guides are entitled Irlande, Tahiti, Inde, Sahara, URSS, Madagascar, Venezuela, Yougoslavie etc., with each using a uniform design of a portrait of woman native to each country on the cover. Excluded from the series is number 24 Grande-Bretagne, which rather humorously Marker had refused to have any editorial input in.
The collection is notable for its photographic contributions from Marker’s colleagues such as Agnes Varda, William Klein and Cartier Bresson, as well as Robert Capa and Brassai; alongside imagery from his own travels and personal archives. The series is playful in its style frequently employing poems, song lyrics, cartoons and a colourful illustrated fold-out map on the back end papers. Marker’s aspiration was to avoid the propaganda familiar to the guidebook genre, imagining a certain intimacy in tone: “Not a guidebook, not a history book, not a propaganda brochure, not a traveller’s impressions, but instead equivalent to the conversation we would like to have with someone intelligent and well versed in the country that interests us”.
The series had an important impact in book design, influencing William Klein’s Life is Good and Good for You in New York, that was published by Seuil under Marker’s insistence with the inscription in the title page ‘Album Petite Planète 1’. The sharp attention toward layout created dynamic relationships between image, text and narrative that Marker used to great effect in films such as his seminal La Jetee.