Picturing New York, 250 Ways

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Published February 4, 2011

New York: A Photographer’s City, out next month from Rizzoli, is the rare book of photography that is as witty as it is striking: compiling its 250 images, the book’s editor, Marla Hamburg Kennedy, surely had all of New York City’s idiosyncracies in mind. She follows up a series of images of museums and people looking at art, for example, with five of Andy Freeberg’s photos of the very tops of gallery assistants’ heads—all that’s visible over their stark white desks—a juxtaposition that acts like a jump cut from the glamorous, heady world of art to the mundane quotidian duties of those who want to be a part of it. Kennedy also pits a series of neglected properties with for-sale signs against photos of Wall Street—a stark reminder of the city’s economic divide.

And there are more treasures to be found: people as dots (on Central Park’s Great Lawn, on the beach, in the snow); people gazing out of their windows; multiple attempts to deface a Britney Spears ad; a triptych of a businessman looking at a woman who’s fallen down and exposed her underwear. More than 100 artists are included—including Jenny Holzer, Peter Funch, Andreas Gursky, Arash Radpour, and William Wegman—and New Yorkers will find the book utterly, piquantly true. For a taste, check out our slideshow of photos from the book, above.