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Passing Through Eden: Photographs of Central Park [Hardcover]

By Tod Papageorge (Photographer)
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Item description for Passing Through Eden: Photographs of Central Park by Tod Papageorge...

Tod Papageorge moved from Leicas to medium-format cameras when he lived in New York in the 1970s, and a few years later began to photograph in Central Park in earnest. These pictures, gathered in Passing Through Eden, convey the passion that Rosalind Krauss once described in Papageorge's work--embracing "the sensuous richness of physical reality that fullness which Baudelaire used to call intimacy, when he meant eroticism." From picture to picture, Papageorge constructs a world that resembles our own, but that also reminds us of Biblical paradise: Passing Through Eden is edited to parallel, in its first half, the opening chapters of Genesis--from the creation through the (metaphorical) generations that follow on from Cain--before giving over to a virtuosic run of pictures that, from one to the next, might invoke Shakespeare's Tempest, or just confirm that the human comedy is alive and well in Central Park. This ambitious portfolio--incorporating work made over the course of 25 years--shows off not only Papageorge's remarkable ability to make photographs that read like condensed narratives, but also his skill at weaving them into sequences that echo shared cultural narratives. It challenges the reader to succumb (or not) to the pleasures of the "fullness" of each individual photograph, while ignoring (or not) the tug of a tale asking to be told. Like Eden itself, this book sets our hunger for beauty against that of knowledge, while reminding us of some of the ways that we read, and come to know, books.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 12" Height: 11.5"
Weight:   2.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2007
Publisher   Steidl
ISBN  386521374X  
ISBN13  9783865213747  

Availability  0 units.

More About Tod Papageorge

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Tod Papageorge began to photograph in 1962 at the University of New Hampshire. Highly influential, since 1979 he has been the Walker Evans Professor of Photography at the Yale University School of Art. His work has been exhibited internationally, and is included in the collections of more than 30 major museums.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Studio Art > Photography
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photo Essays
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photographers, A-Z > General
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > General
6Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > United States > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Passing Through Eden: Photographs of Central Park?

Eden, According to Papageorge  Aug 7, 2007
Passing Through Eden is a book of photographs that rewards the reader who both looks and thinks. It is carefully sequenced, with a selection of pictures depicting a real place, Central Park, in a deliberate and too-simply-labeled "documentary" style to approximate--at least in the first third of the book--a modern day visual parallel to the opening chapters of the book of Genesis. Look again without that "document"- tag; this book is pure fiction, the best sort of construct. The work stems from a honed sensibility embracing transparency and mastery of the medium's most powerful quality, verisimilitude. The photographs consistently demonstrate a profound combination of both self and world. Central Park, metaphorically Eden, is the setting for the world Papageorge creates with his lens, the agent of light (is it really that good there?) and his deep, unrelenting, complex understanding of human nature. Oh, let's not forget the shutter; perhaps the most gracefully, and precisely, used physical tool in the making of his pictures.

People do not purposefully arrange themselves in public, especially in a park where one goes for solitude and to commune with nature (god?): if a picture made there is to have a purpose it is the artist's task to create it. And Papageorge, with unimaginable facility, does this, imbuing each image with purpose and meaning, as much as photographs can convey those elusive qualities. It is not luck or happenstance that the ball floats mysteriously inches from a young woman's face like a global apparition (or Eve's apple); he PUT it there, in his picture. His photographs are the result of intuition, intellect, and experience in forming distilled fabrications from the actual raw material you, I, and seven million other New Yorkers are constantly shaping and undoing as we move through the city's greatest park. He does it by using the medium of photography with consummate skill and grace and by being completely in tune with its transformative powers. He brilliantly knows the difference between the actual and a photograph and he exploits that difference to make pictures expressing his specific understanding of the world. For this clearly is his world, filled with humor, tragedy, mystery and of course the first gift, light.

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The best photography book I've bought in YEARS!  Jul 12, 2007
I have spent the last few years feeling underwhelmed by most photographers' work & photography books I've seen....and then I received this book in the mail. All I can say is THANK YOU TOD PAPAGEORGE! I mean this book is what photography is about. I am blown away by not only the emotional range, but the visual intellegence Papageoge conveys. What a gift!

I literally spent 3 hours looking at the book last night and am about to buy several more copies. This book WILL be a classic, if you have any taste in the visual arts or buy books as investment pieces, look no further.
Good, But Not Great, Decades-Long Documentary Photography of New York City's Central Park  Jul 7, 2007
Without question, Tod Papageorge is among our important American documentary photographers, having had an influential role in shaping the artistic trajectories of many fine young photographers who've gone through the prestigious photography program at Yale University's School of Fine Arts. However, I'm not sure if such recognition is noteworthy with regards to Papageorge's recently published "Passing Through Eden"; a distillation of his decades-long documentary photography of people and places in New York City's Central Park. It's a conclusion I've reluctantly been drawn to, especially after having seen a portion of this body of work on display a few months ago at the Pace/MacGill Gallery, and recognizing a few of these images from a portfolio of his work that's part of the permanent collections of the University of Arizona's Center for Creative Photography. So then why am I only marginally willing to give this book a positive recommendation?

Papageorge's Central Park photographs lack the visual impact of Bruce Davidson's magnificient documentary photography published only a few short years ago. And, unlike Davidson's mesmerizing, emotionally riveting, images, Papageorge's are not devoted to a single theme (In Davidson's case it is as a visual celebration of Central Park as a visually inspiring artifical, but also, "natural" oasis of pleasure and personal fulfillment set in the heart of Manhattan Island.), but are a curious assemblage of 1960s vintage protest photographs (which are stylistically similar, but not nearly as emotionally arresting, as, for example, contemporary images from the likes of Danny Lyon and Ben Fernandez), mixed with a few random shots of "natural" scenery and snapshots of people caught offguard; the latter still recognizable as "street" documentary photography but running close to mere voyeurism. For a long time I have greatly admired the few Papageorge images I've become accustomed to; sadly such admiration has diminished with the publication of this book.

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