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Reiner Leist American Portraits 1910-2001 (Photography) (英語) ハードカバー – 2001/10

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Over a period of seven years Leist traveled across America, photographing people from Rochester to Key West and from New York City to Los Angeles. Before making a portrait the photographer asked each person to provide him with a childhood photograph. This childhood image often supplied the initial visual framework for Leist ’s portrait. The essays, which accompany each pair of portraits, reveal the subjects’, own views on their life, and what it means to be an American. Like America itself, the book presents a diverse tableau of race and background, youth and experience, native born and immigrant, capturing the complex mix of America ’s contemporary society. “An extraordinary encounter with recent American experience. “. Alan Trachtenberg


Reiner Leist lives in New York and teaches photography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. His previous books are South Africa: Blue Portraits and Window.


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A book for our time 2001/11/23
投稿者 green - (
形式: ハードカバー
Whether one views only the pairs of photographs or reads the extraorindary interviews with Americans as diverse as the novelist Barry Lopez, the coal miner, Al Hooper, or Henry Kissinger, the effect of Reiner Leist's American Portraits is extraorinarily poignant and touching. As an immigrant, this book -- in part because it portrays the country in both image and word -- captures for me what it means to be an American. Especially at this juncture in our history when, threatened from abroad, we are searching for our national identity at home, the collected images and words of these 54 representatives of this complex, diverse and complicated nation express the ineffable about this country.
Reiner Leist has photographed this cross-section of Americans with so much empathy and sensitivity that the souls of the participants come directly across to the reader. I have never encountered a photographer, especially a portraitist, with such empathy for his sitters. The format of the book, which pairs a childhood photograph selected by a participant with a corresponding adult portrait taken by Reiner Leist is unique. The juxtaposition of the two photographs has the powerful effect of conveying a sense of identity across boundaries of time and geography.
I can't recommend this book highly enough and have bought it for everyone on my holiday gift list! The book itself is beautifully made. One comes away from each viewing/reading of it with a heightened sensitivity to one's own (im)mortality, the passage of time and the presence of place.
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