#20 – From pleated pages to luxury leather

Scientology leather-bound book. [Alamy image ref. BMX73M]

I don’t know much about Dianetics or Scientology – apart from the usual inferences about “cult” status that are bandied about and the connection with celebrity actors such John Travolta and Tom Cruise – except that the founder of the organization, L. Ron Hubbard, was also a science fiction writer, traveler and quite a good photographer in his own right. When only 17 years of age he captured the seven turns of the Great Wall of China in a rare photograph shot near the Nan-k’ou Pass. He also amassed a superb collection of photographic equipment made into a permanent display at Saint Hill Manor at East Grinstead in West Sussex.

To continue the photographic connection, I was given the above leather-bound special edition of the Dianetics manual by a well-known Nikon dealer in the UK as thanks for an article I used in a photo magazine I published many years ago. Although I browsed through a few pages – and quickly realized the subject didn’t interest me – I thought the attractive leather cover and logo made it a nice looking book worth photographing for Alamy. My other thought was that there was a very good chance the subject – being controversial – would come up in searches on a regular basis… which has proven to be correct as this image, and my other more detailed shots of the logo or symbol have been zoomed a few times.

There’s probably a good market for unusual or many other special edition book covers, especially when obviously made as quality presentation editions. Amazon announced this week that their sales of e-book downloads for the Kindle e-reader have outstripped their sales of paperbacks for the first time. How long before all real books become collectors items?

Used recently as a photo in a retail book (print only) with a print run up to 50,000, 1/4 page 3-year license under my “Beaux Arts” pseudonym.


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