Steve Rino compiled a massive 400 pages book on Elvis’ first six months in 1956. Is big beautiful?
The design follows an illustrated day-by-day format which is a good choice for a book like this. The A4 sized book has black as the main color; this gives the book a very dark and gloomy look. The use of black and white pictures on a black background or black text over an illustrated page doesn’t make the book very readable. Many pictures are not sharp, have a scanning raster or are simply blown up too big. Many images are available in much better quality in other books. Design-wise I couldn’t help but thinking that this was a nicely done home project.
When this book came in the mailman also brought a few Ger Rijff photo book I found on-line to complete my collection. And boy do you see the difference. Only a handful of changes could turn this gloomy book into a bright and readable book.
Steve Rino must be applauded for collecting all the images, data and newspaper clippings illustrating the first six months of Elvis’ big breakthrough year. It never seizes to amaze me how much material survived the fifty years since they were created; especially the newspaper clippings. Usually it is news on the day it is printed and one day later the fish is wrapped in that particular newspaper. In these six months Elvis Presley really conquered America and the world starting out touring the south-west and ending up on television before trying out for a starring role in the movies. The dates are nicely illustrated and documented. Unfortunately I didn’t find any new images in this book browsing through it several times.
Big could be beautiful; but this book is still a little "ugly duck". Let’s hope volume 2 will be a bit brighter and turn into the beautiful swan.