The Big Apple delivers yet again some rich pickings in the best Photo League style of busy street photography. Todd Webb (1905-2000) took most of the book's pictures during 1945/6, when he returned to the city after active service in the South Pacific. Many of the 167 photos capture the working class street environment, especially straight on shots of houses or store fronts with windows full of signs and products which sometimes spill out onto the pavement.
Pages four and five has an eight exposure shot of Sixth Avenue between 43 and 44 Streets (part of it is on the cover) the exposures were joined together to create a stunning wide photo. I particularly liked the many photos that included lettering and Webb seems to have sought locations with signs, rather reminiscent of the FSA photos from the Depression years, in fact there aren't too many photos that don't have some sort of lettering within the frame. The editors have included a few interesting architectural shots of New York including row houses with skyscrapers rising behind them, the Empire State at night and the Brooklyn Bridge.
The first pages have an illustrated essay by Sean Corcoran about Webb's life and during the late forties he was friends with several photographers of the period: Berenice Abbot; Harry Callahan; Ansel Adams; Alfred Stieglitz; Gordon Parks; Helen Levitt and Lisette Model. Daniel Okrent contributes an essay about changes in the city shown in the photos and today.
This is a good looking book with a lovely matt art paper for the two hundred screen printing which reveals, once again that the Big Apple is a mythic city for photographers.