From The Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst, (Vancouver: Hartley & Marks, Publishers, 2008), 145:
[…] Sizing and spacing type, like composing and performing music or applying paint to canvas, is largely concerned with intervals and differences. As the texture builds, precise relationships and very small discrepancies are easily perceived. Establishing the overall dimensions of the page is more a matter of limits and sums. In this realm, it is usually sufficient, and often it is better, if structural harmony is not so much enforced as it is implied. That is one of the reasons typographers tend to fall in love with books. The pages flex and turn; their proportions ebb and flow against the underlying form. […]

Books are often designed with very thoughtful and precise geometry, Euclidean and perfect in the abstract space of the computer. As soon as they start to make the transition to paper that ideal is corrupted—the books bend, move, fold, lines and angles aren’t quite perfect. The book, as an object, is not, literally can not, live up to the Euclidean ideal that it often begins with.

Taking the physical books back into the ordered space of the computer tends to make this fact even more apparent. Trying to get a decent image of an open book can be difficult. First, there’s all the problems of the actual photography—set-up, lighting, getting the damn thing to lie flat and stay open, etc. (This is why I usually use a scanner to document books—it’s sort of easier, at least for me.) And then once the images are up on the computer (not always a necessary part of photography, but we are talking about making digital archives here) a new problem becomes visible—which geometry takes precedence? Should one straighten and crop according to the line of the spine? The edges of the head or tail or fore-edge? Or to the text and image on the pages? What looks “right?” My default tends to be the spine, as all of those other things are more subject to the “ebb and flow” of the book in space. But that depends on the image too, and sometimes even a straightforward image can have a spine that is deceptively crooked when compared to everything else.

Art Into Life is a particularly wonky book. I don’t think any part of that book is a right angle or straight/parallel line, despite my best efforts.

The differences between the facsimile and the archive accumulate around the imperfect edges of the book. The facsimile seeks to mesh and hide the edge of the image with the edge of the real. The archive shows the edge, acknowledges the book as an object-in-the-world that is being viewed through a window. The facsimile or reproduction produces an illusion, an image that purports to be real. The archive produces an image of the real.

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