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Americans: The Social Landscape From 1940 until 2006 [Hardcover]

By Peter Weiermair (Author)
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Item description for Americans: The Social Landscape From 1940 until 2006 by Peter Weiermair...

A bakers' dozen of the best photographers of the past hundred years, from Helen Levitt and Gordon Parks to Nan Goldin and Ryan McGinley, are brought together here in a series of portfolios expanding on Robert Frank's Americans. Together they consider generations of social upheavals, crises, and shifts in U.S. society, responding to societal problems with attitudes from concerned to ecstatic. Helen Levitt's East Village and Bruce Davidson's are the same, and yet nothing alike, as are Richard Avedon's Texas and Rosalind Solomon's New Orleans, Diane Arbus's periphery and Lee Friedlander's loneliness at the center of the world, Peter Hujar's transsexuals and Larry Clark's boys. While the "concerned photography" of the mid-twentieth century can seem to demand the acceptance of the nonconformist behavior it tracks, and the recognition of social ills, the most recent contributions here avoid those moral undertones, documenting the hedonistic cult of youth, its promiscuity and ideology of fun. They do not judge but may provoke viewers into their own judgments, and always to thought.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Damiani
Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.18" Width: 10.08" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   4.06 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2007
Publisher   Damiani
ISBN  8889431687  
ISBN13  9788889431689  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter Weiermair

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Peter Weiermair is director of the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Bologna, Italy. He has curated over 400 exhibitions and has published numerous books and articles on modern and contemporary art.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Studio Art > Photography
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Artists, A-Z > ( G-I ) > Goldin, Nan
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Collections, Catalogues & Exhibitions
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photographers, A-Z

Reviews - What do customers think about Americans: The Social Landscape From 1940 until 2006?

Images of the melting pot  Apr 6, 2008
The first thing that struck about this book was the amazing print quality. As far as I can tell the screen used is 250 to 300dpi (maybe higher!) and it was produced at the publisher's plant in Bologna. On page sixty-two there is a wonderful photo by Bruce Davidson of a laughing woman sitting in an apartment, the camera captures her and also looks out of the window so you can see the street scene below where it's possible to read the street signs and ads on a shop.

The thirteen photographers featured get ten images each (though the exhibition had 173) I think it would be fair to say that with just this small number their style and point-of-view clearly comes across. Interestingly the viewer's point-of-view will come into play as the pages are turned. The last two photographers, Ed Templeton and Ryan McGinley don't do anything for me. I find their photos far too subjective and in the case of McGinley the color work seems not much better than snaps but I can appreciate that their coverage of youth culture probably resonates with that market so their inclusion in a book of American photographers looking at the social landscape is justified.

Though there are only ten photos to sum up each contributor I thought the choice was interesting. Robert Frank has two from 1951 predating his 'The Americans' book, Gordon Parks brilliant American Gothic is here but also a 1970 shot of Eldridge Cleaver. Those from Diane Arbus are well known and Richard Avedon's contribution are from his book 'In the American West'.

Despite the stunning print quality there are some annoying editorial flaws (very typical of exhibition catalogs) in the text. At the back of the book there is Exhibits, a list of photographer's and their work arranged alphabetically but annoyingly the entries for each are not arranged according to the sequence of printed photos in the book, so the list for Avedon starts with page 124 and then the sequence is 118, 120-121, 115, 117, 116, 119 and 123. All the listings are in this annoying format. After Exhibits there is a biography of each photographer, you would have thought alphabetical but no, it's arranged according to the book's printed sequence so Helen Levitt comes first then Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Bruce Davidson, Gordon Parks etc. For an expensive art book I would expected the publishers to be more professional.

So, some editorial nonsense but still a wonderful collection of beautifully printed photos that jump of the page and mostly, in my view, sum up American photography over the last few decades. To expand some of the book's themes further check out The Last Photographic Heroes: American Photographers of the Sixties and Seventies. An excellent survey.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.


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