With 104 pages this book only has thirty-six photos by Alec Soth. But don't let the small number of images put you off owning a copy because this is a book that has to be considered from the front cover to the back.
To start with Soth designed it and it was probably his idea to avoid a dust jacket and go for an embossed title and panel for a pasted-on color photo. After the title spread there is a five page essay by Richard Ford followed by the photo pages, three of which use notes that Soth got from strangers while working on this Niagara assignment, next Philip Brookman contributes a six page essay on the cultural aspects of the Falls. Just before the book ends there are two spreads that, for me, make it all come alive. These are background notes handwritten by Soth and included are nine addition photos he took and one he was given by somone in a bar. Included also are some very personal notes he was given by strangers. Thumbnails of the Niagara photos with their titles run down the sides of these four pages. The back cover has an embossed quote taken from a handwritten note on page eighty-three.
I thought Soth's intriguing images are definitely given extra credence by being presented in this particular format. His design, printing, paper, binding, contributor essays all work to enhance the photos. This is not a unique way of doing things but in this case I think it works perfectly. The photos are one to a page and amazingly, with so few, the impact the Falls and motels have on the folks who go there really comes across. With each viewing they become more and more accessible.
***SEE SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.