Friday, 17 March 2017

The city booked

It says something for the world's premier city that this book could have been published any time in the last few decades and still been full of wonderful photobooks. There are forty-nine titles considered and each gets an initial page with a long essay combined with a largish thumbnail of the cover then subsequent pages have reproductions of several inside spreads from each book. I think it's worth saying that these are what might be considered art photobooks rather than those bland city tourist ones full of color photos sourced from image libraries.

The first book (or rather a forty-eight page brochure) is the 1931 published Empire State with photos about its construction, eleven other books, including Abbott's Changing New York, Weegee's Naked City and Klein's Life is good for you in New York take the reader up to 1960. The remaining thirty-seven books run up to 2002 with last one the Swiss published 'Here is New York' dealing with 9/11.

What I liked about this book is the chance to see foreign published ones with the work of photographers I hadn't heard of but oddly there is nothing from Andreas Feininger who had at least two books of his city photos published.

It's unfortunate that this is a paperback with the pictures printed in four-color black using a 175 screen. I would have happily paid more for a larger book using a good art paper for better reproduction of these fascinating New York photobooks.

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