unboxing The City Is A Novel

Thanks again to Ted Forbes for pointing me to another decent photography book: Alexey Titarenko’s The City is a Novel. Ted knows a good bit more about Titarenko and his style than I do, so if you want a favorable and fairly thorough look at the book, go and have a look.

And apologies… I know I claimed to be giving up the photobooks for a bit in favor of some actual photographs, but a couple more came in that I forgot about, and so let me get through them quickly, and then I’ll get back to shooting, InshaAllah.

I saw some of Titarenko’s pictures back in Art School and thought the long/multiple exposure river of people thing was pretty interesting, and after actively photographing for a number of years now I’m more impressed with some of his framing choices and the light he saw and captured.

I’m not quite as impressed with The City is a Novel as I was with, say, the Gruyaert book or the Foote books, but the pictures are of different places and under different conditions, and it’s all sort of muted black and white (with a bit of selective selenium and/or sepia and/or some other sorts of toning in places, and some solarisation too). About half of the book was shot in Saint Petersburgh, where Titarenko grew up and developed his photographing and printing style, and it has most of his well known pictures, or the ones I was aware of, anyway. The other half is split into three sections with photographs shot in Venice, Havana, and New York. Of the four, I like the Venice pictures the best, I think: there’s something very timeless about a couple of the shots, this one in particular (it looks much better in the book). So far, I’ve merely skimmed the Havana pictures, and the New York series was disrupted a bit for me by what my untrained eyes saw as selective color, but is really some rockstar printing technique, but all in all, this is a really solid book, and one I might go back to when I want to think about possibilities in black & white.

There are still copies available from various retailers. If you visit the link above to Ted Forbes, he’s got an affiliate link to Amazon. I picked up my copy from artbook.com, but I’m not so fancy as to have affiliate links. I paid 2 or 3 dollars more than you would from Amazon, and I didn’t support Ted, but I’m over one year clean of Amazon, and as long as their shipping contractors keep refusing to pay their employees for what the Supreme Court ruled as ‘not essential,’ yet still required, work time, I’ll keep paying a little bit more to buy from companies that probably do the same things to their employees… This is advanced capitalism, after all.

But anyway, go buy a copy if you’re interested.

 

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