A Kind of History. Millerton, New York 1971-1991

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9781881529583: A Kind of History. Millerton, New York 1971-1991

For twenty years, Mark Goodman photographed the children and young adults of Millerton, New York, a project that is about discovering who you are, from both sides of the camera. Goodman's project defines a different kind of documentary, one that is non-linear, affectionate, and above all, about the love of making pictures. This is the first major monograph of the artist's work.

In these photographs, we see a wide range of people and places, all found within the confines of this one small town, from individual portraits to relationships between the children, their friends, siblings, parents and teachers. The final sequence juxtaposes portraits of individuals taken several years apart; in one a baby becomes a young girl and then a young adult; in another a teenage boy and his dog age and change over sixteen years yet remain together, lifelong friends.

The autobiographical text tells how Goodman first came to Millerton (as a student at nearby Apeiron Workshops) and his early weeks of photographing, walking the towns streets, getting to know the inhabitants, and more importantly, letting them get to know him. He tells of life at Apeirona post-hippie community (if not exactly a commune) for people who thought of themselves as aspiring artists with cameras and those who wished to hang out with them. And he generously tells of his own life in and out of Millerton: why he went there, why he stayed, and why he, finally, left. Its a familiar journey, if rarely told with such modest candor, one that reveals the combination of questioning and commitment that marks a passionate investigation into a life, a place, and its people.

The text is amply illustrated with views of the town, of Apeiron, family album snapshots, and with remarkable historical photographs from the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

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From the Publisher:

Published by Markerbooks, an imprint of Custom & Limited Editions. 10.75 x 9.25 inches, clothbound, 184 duotone reproductions. Printed and bound in Italy.

From the Inside Flap:

It was clear Mark Goodman was onto something special when his earliest Millerton photographs were first published in the 1970s. He captured the faces and attitude of the people of this small upstate New York town with an arresting directness and insight that seemed in part a result of his multi-year commitment to the community and his documentary project.

It's remarkable to see how Goodman was able to continue this intensity over a generation of change now gathered in this publication of the full twenty years of his Millerton project. He brings us disarmingly close, both visually and emotionally, seldom stepping back for a more generalized distant view. Time is marked on the faces of the people, not by records of new buildings and highways.

Goodman consciously created a portrait of a community, the kind of which is traditionally only haphazardly recorded in family snapshots and the miscellaneous commercial work of a local professional photographer. In fact, Goodman astutely recognizes how his twenty-year record is connected to the full life cycle and broader history of the community through the tradition of vernacular photographs.

As Goodman's autobiographical text suggests, these photographs become a reflection of his experiences and changing perceptions. In turn, these provocative images challenge us to consider our memories of growing up and our own experiences of home and family, love and friendship. Thus these powerful, both beautiful and disconcerting photographs, touch us personally as they introduce us to the people of Millerton.

Thomas W. Southall Curator of Photography High Museum of Art Atlanta

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Goodman, Mark
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