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City Spaces: Photographs of Chicago Alleys (Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places) [Hardcover]

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Item description for City Spaces: Photographs of Chicago Alleys (Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places) by Bob Thall & Ross Miller...

In 1996, photographer Bob Thall---walking to his car after completing some work in downtown Chicago---was stopped by something. "I noticed this strange view down an alley," he later wrote. "It wasn't the type of photograph I was doing that year, but the scene stopped me. I had one sheet of film left and thought, 'Oh, what the hell,' and took the picture."

Thall didn't print that picture for over a year. He had just published the highly-praised The Perfect City, an investigation of the sweeping changes in downtown Chicago over a twenty-year period---and he was still working on The New American Village, a look at the new edge city around O'Hare Airport that stands in such contrast to the urbanity of downtown. That single alley photograph, however, would stay with him, and eventually it would inspire the project that led to this, his third book: City Spaces is an exploration of the terrain of Chicago's alleys, where Thall finds remnants of the old city that he, and many other Chicagoans, once found so compelling.

What these photographs transcribe are deep urban slits, afterthoughts to the gleaming modernist fronts of buildings. As Thall writes, "Investigating these spaces reminded me of my earlier sense of the city as a mysterious landscape to explore. My history as a Chicagoan, my history as a photographer, the history of the city, and, in a small way, the history of photography---without any plan or anticipation, these photographs brought these histories together for me." City Spaces will be a welcome addition to those interested in fine art photography, architecture, Chicago, and the urban scene---and will reinforce Bob Thall's presence as a leading artist and spokesperson for the city he loves.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 12" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.95 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2002
Publisher   Center for American Places
ISBN  1930066074  
ISBN13  9781930066076  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bob Thall & Ross Miller

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bob Thall is a professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago. A major exhibition of his photographs from The New American Village will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago from November 20, 1999, through January 15, 2000. His first book of photographs, The Perfect City, was also published by Johns Hopkins.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Studio Art > Photography
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > United States
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Criticism
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Architectural
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
6Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
7Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photo Essays
8Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > United States > General
9Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > United States > Midwest
10Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > State & Local - By State > Illinois
11Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > State & Local
12Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > 20th Century
13Books > Subjects > Travel > United States > States > Illinois > General

Reviews - What do customers think about City Spaces: Photographs of Chicago Alleys (Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places)?

my photo mentor!  Aug 5, 2005
Bob Thall happens to have been my Photo/Darkroom 1 teacher in college back in the late 80s. This gentleman is the bomb! Hey, I already got my grades, so I have absolutely nothing to gain here! Going into the class, I had, to put it mildly, a very poor eye for photography. I mean, anyone can use a camera. However Bob enabled me to acquire a real appreciation for photography as an art form, to the extent that I am still taking photographs, almost every day of my life, literally! In fact, I recommend to every serious student that I meet (I am still taking classes!) to enroll in a Photo/Darkroom 1 class with Bob Thall. He has helped imbue me with an artistic sense and keen eye that is helpful in any art class or artistic related endeavor. OK now about the book: It rocks! While some consider his work dry (he said it himself almost 20 years ago), if you take a close and careful look at every aspect of his work including content, composition, shooting, printing, etc., you may see what I see... Who else could make a photograph of a Chicago alley look so darn beautiful?!
meticulous revelations, gorgeous results  Sep 2, 2003
Bob Thall has been making marvelous photographic books from marvelous big-camera photographs for more than a decade. He's also been systematically investigating the city of Chicago as a test case for the 21st century city. PERFECT CITY began by looking at the creative destruction of an architecturally significant and economically vibrant American urban downtown; THE NEW AMERICAN VILLAGE then looked at the new "urbanism" of what Joel Garreau has called the Edge Cities that have sprung up along the interstates and tollroads at a safe distance from the old metropolis. Now with CITY SPACES, he's tackling the newest phenomenon of American urbanism: the nostalgic return of downtowns as places to work, live, and be entertained. It's Thall's quirky intelligence at work that a collection of photographs of alleys could become a book about the resurgence of the old city, but that's what he shows us-- the way the city's encrustations of history, its graffiti, old signs, strange corners, odd spaces, and once-vibrant functional loading docks have become objects of nostalgic reverie, and Thall offers to be our guide in this visual treasure-hunt. This is a photographer of decidedly modernist sentiments. The play of subtle light on worn brick, the way mirror glass recedes deceptively into a non-existent, yet absurdly convincing surreal skyscape, the delight you feel as things line up into sensuous arrays when you stand precisely THERE and tilt your head like THIS and bend your knees oh-so-slightly: these are the matters of this book. Such visual sleight-of-sight requires superb printing to work in a book; luckily the Icelandic printers have labored with Nordic determination and the results are astonishing: blacks as smooth as velvet but still retaining a sense of detailed dark space; silvery sheens to steel, walls that crumble as you look at them.

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