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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow "Pink Floyd - Rex Collections" - Marcus Hearn
"Pink Floyd - Rex Collections" - Marcus Hearn Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Friday, 20 June 2008

Pink Floyd rex collection bookRex Features, London's top picture library for the performing arts, has long been a treasure trove of great Pink Floyd pictures. Having captured the band either in action, or posing for the camera, there are many great shots lurking in their archives.

Thanks to the work of Marcus Hearn, these archives have been revealed in this new book, "Pink Floyd - Rex Collections" published by Reynolds & Hearn, which runs to some 160 pages packed with many rarely seen photographs. The book is a compilation of the best Floyd pictures from the Rex Features archives.

The first, hardback edition is limited to 1000 copies, and these have sold like the proverbial hotcakes. However, this coming autumn sees the publication of a softback edition which is not limited in numbers, and should be pretty much identical to the hardback.

We were naturally quite curious as to how much of Rex's archives were used. Marcus told us: "The project involved quite a lot of archaeology in Rex's archive. The contents are arranged chronologically from 1967 to 2007, and include some familiar pictures and quite a few which I don't think have been in print before.

"Almost everything from the pre digital age (ie everything prior to the Live 8 reunion) has been specially scanned and restored.

"I'm confident that the book represents the best of the Pink Floyd group material held in Rex's archive - i.e. we discarded quite a few variations on the pictures we included and we didn't use anything from the various band-members' solo appearances and performances. So, this collection represents a fraction of what Rex holds on Gilmour, Mason, Wright and Waters, but it's the majority of the Floyd pictures."

The first thing that strikes you on picking up the book is the large format size. At slightly larger than A4, there is plenty of space for the pictures to be displayed at a decent size.

Below are some page spreads to give an idea of the book's layout. Click the thumbnails to see the layout in a larger format.

pink floyd rex 01 pink floyd rex 02
pink floyd rex 03 pink floyd rex 04
pink floyd rex 05  

The book gives a stripped down, yet succinct, text guiding the reader through the basics of the band's history. However, it is really the pictures that do the talking. The focus of the shots used changes as the band quickly disappear from the overt gaze of the public. Following the many publicity shots of 1967, the band's reluctance to pose in a photographer's studio becomes apparent, and in-concert shots become the norm.

Comments from the band members pepper the text, culled from various press interviews and indeed, from the same publications come snippets of reviews, not all of them overly complimentary!

Ultimately the whole purpose of the book is the pictures. A vast array of these, and in the case of the earlier, pre-Wall shows, many previously unseen. As one can see from the occasional contact strip, some of the early pictures are simply minute variations on what was selected as the "best" from that particular photo session, but the minor duplication, especially around 1967, can be excused for the insight it helps bring into the photo shoot.

From the nervous young lads, resplendent in their Carnaby Street finery, through to the serious musicians crafting atmospheres and moods through extended improvisions, to the polished mega-shows of the late 1980s and early 1990s, each section is full of treats for the Floyd fan who enjoys the visual side of things.

Yes, one or two of the shots (particularly the early ones) feel a little superfluous at times, but with the weight of great pictures of the band in action throughout the book this is a minor quibble.

This is the sixth volume in their series of rock photography books compiled from the unique archives of Rex Features, and should prove at the very least as popular as the preceding volumes have been.

With the limited, 1000-copy hardback all but sold out, October's regular edition paperback will surely be welcomed by a very sizeable chunk of Pink Floyd fans.

If you want to try and get one of the remaining hardback editions, you can try ordering through Amazon via these links: Amazon US/International, Canada, UK/Europe, France, or Germany.

However, this edition is pretty much completely sold out already, so you might be wiser to order the paperback, being published in October, instead, which can be done through these alternative links: Amazon US/International, Canada, UK/Europe, France, or Germany.

As a reminder, all Amazon orders placed after entering their sites using our special links, costs you nothing extra, helps with the running costs of this site, and we really appreciate it!

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