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Images Polanski

IMAGES POLANSKI. AN UNFINISHED MAQUETTE FOR A BOOK THAT WOULD NEVER BE PUBLISHED. THE TEXT IS LATIN, THE PICTURES ARE PASTED IN AND HALF THE PAGES ARE BLANK. IT IS QUITE BEYOND BRILLIANT!

This is the cover of a book that was never to be published. The title Images Polanski is painted in white on a matt black card. The screen grab cover image - a still from a documentary perhaps - is stuck down with glue. This is a maquette for a book that should have been published in London in 1972 by Mathews Miller Dunbar but it wasn't. In fact, this work in progress was just that, an incomplete work: it stops at page fifty. The next fifty pages are blank!

It is a really poetic construction. The themes chosen are highly idiosyncratic; Reflections , Glasses , Touching , Through The Window ... This is one of the doube pages from the Reflections section, which also includes the photograph of Catherine Deneuve on set with Polanksi in the mirror. We can't think of another film book like it.

The publishers Mathews Miller Dunbar were also responsible for Allen Jones' Waitress , Martin Sharp's Art Book and the super early graffiti photobook Watching My Name Go By . Between 1970 and 1974 they were unbeatable. This detail from the Anthony Mathews' notes in the last pages of the book. ' Bunuel? ' for the introduction maybe... '...existential despair' a chapter title?

If it had been finished and had been published, it would have been staggeringly good. The book takes as its source the six films Polanski had completed by 1972; Knife In The Water , Repulsion , Cul-de-Sac , Dance of the Vampires , Rosemary's Baby and The Tragedy of Macbeth . Stills from these films are mixed liberally with location photographs of Polanski at work. The approach is thematic rather than chronogical. It's amazing.

This collage is from Glasses. Note the inclusion of the shot from Macbeth - the helmet with nose visor making the shape of glasses. Its an inspired connection and not the only one we spotted. There is nothing written about this book that we can find. This email and our online album are the only references. Click here to see the full slideshow.

Mia Farrow from Rosemary's Baby and, in the context of this book, an image from the section titled Touching . There is no hint as to why this book didn't happen. It was a few years after the Sharon Tate murder and a few years before Polanski's trial and exile. Its hard to think that the publishers and Polanski just thought better of it. It was too good... too good to be true.

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