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Mitch Epstein: The City

Epstein, Mitch

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ISBN 10: 1576871010 / ISBN 13: 9781576871010
Published by powerhouse, 2001
Used Hardcover
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Hardcover with dustjacket, unpaginated, very good condition except very light impressions and scratches to dj; no internal marks. Foreign shipping may be extra. Bookseller Inventory # MiEppo40

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Mitch Epstein: The City

Publisher: powerhouse

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

About this title


New York isn't what it used to be, so why haven't New York's photographers and photographic books caught up with reality? Why do picture-makers continue to mimic the gritty glamour and aggression of William Klein's New York images, or stalk up and down Fifth and Madison Avenues paying peculiar homage to Garry Winogrand, or struggle to rediscover the romance of Nan Goldin's Lower East Side, on streets now clogged with Starbucks and designers' tenement-scaled emporia?

What makes Mitch Epstein's most recent book, The City, particularly interesting is witnessing Epstein's attempt to breathe life back into a classic, albeit tired, genre. Instead of the usual raucous juxtapositions of visual clichés—pictures crammed with street corner sturm und drang and urban gargoyles—The City's elliptical narrative unfolds quietly. There's a meditative, almost medicated calmness to the book's color still lifes and cityscapes: the droll display of overwrought deli cakes; a street festival shooting gallery's targets, featuring the faces of Timothy McVeigh, Amy Fisher and Hitler, offering discounted prices for kids; the sports jacket, carefully folded and placed on the grass in Central Park, whose banal but eerie presence suggests anything from a lunchtime nap to murder.

To complicate matters, these images are interspersed with black-and-white portraits—of Epstein's wife, daughter, friends and acquaintances—that are equally enigmatic. Some subjects smile; some look into the distance. Still others stare back—with willful intent, or unable or uninterested in hiding their vulnerability—through the camera's lens. As complex and beautiful as Epstein's photographs of New York situations are, as intimate as his portraits might be, The City ultimately creates something surprising; the opportunity to ponder what photography can and cannot reveal about our public lives and our most private selves.By Marvin Heiferman

From Library Journal:

With 85 full-page color and black-and-white photographs, Epstein (Vietnam: A Book of Changes), whose images are held by major museums and who has worked as a cinematographer and production designer on films such as Salaam Bombay!, presents his views of New York City between 1995 and 2001. Color photographs depict the commonplace, grittier sights of New York crumbling buildings, littered streets and sidewalks, graffiti-covered walls, a multicultural populace whereas the duotones are portraits of friends and colleagues. There are views taken from the intimate distance of one apartment building to another, as well as views across the city. The stark, often compelling images convey the isolation, loneliness, and tensions endemic to complex, densely packed urban locations. Unfortunately, there is no introductory essay or written statement by the photographer, two brief stanzas of poetry and the acknowledgments being the only textual material. An optional choice for general collections. Joan Levin, MLS, Chicago
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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