Edwin Land’s published writing—precise, technically impeccable, and scientifically uncompromised—was the way he wished to be remembered, and two years after his death, his colleague Mary McCann collected it all into a pair of hardbound volumes. Published by the Science for Imaging & Technology in 1993, Edwin H. Land’s Essays never quite went out of print (you could always order it from the Society), but it also never exactly gained wide distribution. When working on my own book, I had a really hard time finding it through any means except interlibrary loan, until I finally discovered, rather late in the game, that I could simply buy my own set. Some of the essays are dense scientific work; some are explanations for general audiences; and some have little science but lots about the philosophy of business and education. They reveal a roving, curious, broadly engaged mind, one that was given to careful and thoughtful verbal expression.
Well, over a dinner with John and Mary McCann, the couple mentioned to me that the Society was looking to clean out its book closet, and I immediately knew what to do: hook them up with the Impossible Project. A few months later, they’re offering for sale the remaining stock of books, packaged up in a handsome new slipcase. This is actually a pretty precious intellectual resource for anyone interested in chemical photography (or Land’s later research on color vision), and once they’re gone, it’s doubtful that anyone will reprint it. Get ’em while you can.
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