Book Review: Louis Faurer

The Loneliness of crowds

I find it odd that since the publication of this perfect photo book in 2002 there has not been another on Faurer's photography. Maybe this will be his publishing legacy. By all accounts his work seems to remain on the visual fringe of American photographers during that very creative period from the mid-thirties to the early sixties.

The bulk of the photos are Faurer's remarkable night shots of the streets of New York, especially Broadway and the Times Square area and as another reviewer has commented virtually everyone in these photos is looking elsewhere and apart despite being surrounded by of plenty people. Page eighty shows a woman having a flower pinned to her coat lapel but she is not looking at this but away from the person doing it, on the opposite page a women is adjusting her husband's hair while he looks away from her. Faurer seems to seek out individuals in a sea of crowds. The forty-nine page illustrated essay by Anne Tucker explores this theme.

After these photos in the book there are twenty-six taken between 1948 and 1983. They include three fashion shots in color, experimental work in black and white and color, four in NYC in the seventies (but, I thought, without the vigor of Faurer's earlier city work) and three taken in Paris. Missing are examples of his fashion work, perhaps two or three pages with large thumbnails of magazine spreads would have done. Interestingly there are three pages at the back of the book with a comprehensive listing of all of Faurer's magazine work. Oddly there is a color photo (page 163) of a family in Times Square, from 1950, that is printed the wrong way round.

The book's production is perfect. The one to a page photos are printed as 200 screen duotones on a good matt art, and thankfully the captions are printed on the same page as the photos. Overall I thought this was a beautiful looking monograph of Louis Faurer's photography.

Louis Faurer is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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Title spread.

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Experimental work from 1948 and 1950.

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Right: Family, Times Square, 1949-50. The photo is the wrong way round, sort of amazing for a photo book and it shows lettering, too.

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I consider this experimental color work. Left from 1949 and right, from the 1970s

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Right: photo by Robert Frank of Louis Faurer, 1950s.

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