A fresh look
Another fresh take on the most photographed city in the world. New photo books on NYC come out all the time and they seem to me to be divided into three formats: street photos of New Yorkers doing their thing (this style stretches right back to the Photo League of the late thirties) cityscapes; tourist titles. Luca Campigotto's photos clearly falls into the cityscape genre where light and its effect on structures creates the visual interest.
Many of the seventy color photos were taken at night or just before daybreak and some use time-lapse to create rivers of light from vehicle lights. The long exposures also reduce the visibility of pedestrians, they become a soft blur at the bottom of several shots emphasising the strong and precise verticals of the skyscrapers. This is clearly seen on page nineteen with a remarkable shot of the buildings opposite Radio City on 6th Avenue. No cityscape book is complete with some looking down shots, either from the Rockefeller Center or the Empire State. Page fifty-seven has a beauty looking towards downtown and the financial district with the Flatiron Building at bottom of the photo and a golden lit Broadway and Fifth Avenue snaking off into the distance.
Some of the best photos in the book are where Campigotto has concentrated on building close-ups, looking down an alley or part of a street with fire-escapes, metal shuttered shops, broken sidewalks, street furnish with traffic signs, graffiti, bagged rubbish. Possibly not to everyone's taste but Manhattan is full of streets with this kind of intriguing detail (as are most cities with run-down commercial areas). The cities bridges aren't left out either, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queensboro and Williamsburg get excellent night shots.
I thought was an interesting look at the city, nearly every photo has something to say, the only duds in my view are the South Street Seaport (page thirty-one) and View from Queens (page seventy-nine). The book's design and print are first class with a very fine screen (300?) used on a matt art and the landscape shape opens up spreads just over twenty-seven inches wide though, fortunately, there are no photos that go across the gutter.
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