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Despite the sometimes puffed-up text, this is a necessary addition to any library of photography.

An illuminating portfolio of the work of photographer Garry Winogrand (1928-1984), who died more than three decades ago but is being rediscovered.

If nothing else, Winogrand deserves to be remembered for a near-iconic sports photograph that he took in Austin, Texas, in 1974, capturing all 22 players in a football game. He had long since given up the telephoto lens; in his commentary text, Dyer (White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, 2016, etc.) notes that “he will lose interest in it so completely that he’ll give it away,” using the wide-angle almost exclusively. The effect is stunning. Influenced by Robert Frank, the Swiss-born American photographer of found scenes, Winogrand gave the impression of being an accidental, “street” photographer. Certainly, as this excellent selection of photographs shows, he captured plenty of odd moments: stoned-out dudes loom blearily over beauty queens, hippies and greasers brawl (“in the realm of aggro,” Dyer brightly notes, “sandals put one at a radical practical and psychological disadvantage”), people mill about on the streets, proving Dyer’s observation that Winogrand “was a great photographer of people walking.” Like all photographers, though, Winogrand was too obsessive-compulsive to rely entirely on accidents. Dyer scores good points here and there in guessing at the meaning behind Winogrand’s images. He wanted to ask, speaking of accident, why this and not that, why this minute instead of another? He was also a photographer of types: beauties, old ladies, pensive and well-dressed men, and sometimes people taking pictures of other people. The photographs speak for themselves—and good thing, for Dyer’s text too easily descends into posturing and empty philosophizing, and his comment on an African-American man wearing a leather jacket is about as lit-crit silly as they come: “There is a hint…of radicalized racial politics, even if this is only conveyed, on a sunny day, by the brother’s leather jacket, a vestimentary leftover from the heydays of the Panthers.”

Despite the sometimes puffed-up text, this is a necessary addition to any library of photography.

Pub Date: March 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4773-1033-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Univ. of Texas

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

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A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

A revealing biography of the fabled Manhattan hotel, in which generations of artists and writers found a haven.

Turn-of-the century New York did not lack either hotels or apartment buildings, writes Tippins (February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof In Wartime America, 2005). But the Chelsea Hotel, from its very inception, was different. Architect Philip Hubert intended the elegantly designed Chelsea Association Building to reflect the utopian ideals of Charles Fourier, offering every amenity conducive to cooperative living: public spaces and gardens, a dining room, artists’ studios, and 80 apartments suitable for an economically diverse population of single workers, young couples, small families and wealthy residents who otherwise might choose to live in a private brownstone. Hubert especially wanted to attract creative types and made sure the building’s walls were extra thick so that each apartment was quiet enough for concentration. William Dean Howells, Edgar Lee Masters and artist John Sloan were early residents. Their friends (Mark Twain, for one) greeted one another in eight-foot-wide hallways intended for conversations. In its early years, the Chelsea quickly became legendary. By the 1930s, though, financial straits resulted in a “down-at-heel, bohemian atmosphere.” Later, with hard-drinking residents like Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan, the ambience could be raucous. Arthur Miller scorned his free-wheeling, drug-taking, boozy neighbors, admitting, though, that the “great advantage” to living there “was that no one gave a damn what anyone else chose to do sexually.” No one passed judgment on creativity, either. But the art was not what made the Chelsea famous; its residents did. Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Phil Ochs and Sid Vicious are only a few of the figures populating this entertaining book.

A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-618-72634-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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