Renowned documentary photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont has been a transplanted resident from Paris to New York City since 1965 and in addition his travels that have documented the entirety of America and its social forces as well as those around the world from 1960 to 1990, he has also squarely focused his camera on his new “hometown” New York City. Demonstrating the people, places, and events with the same insight that he has the rest of the world, here is an elegant, incisive, and unexpected “review” of forty years of exploration by one of the most revered documentarians working today. Just as he explored the explosive, the calm, the social, the environment in his prize-winning book, Photographer’s Paradise, this book is filled with the highs and lows of New York City life. Not a commentary on the high end versus the low end of lifestyles, it is instead a commentary on the ups and downs socially, politically, and visually that have taken place in the city he loves so much, with the eyes of a devoted viewer, over the past 40 years. As explained by Joan Juliet Buck, the foreword-writer who is no casual observer herself: “When the young Frenchman Jean-Pierre Laffont arrived at JFK airport in March of 1965, he was greeted by a smell of hot dogs and yellow mustard that he’d known as a child on the American army bases in Morocco, where he remembered smiling GIs giving him licorice-flavored chewing gum. He was ready to respond to New York with his heart; over the next fifty years, as he became one of the world’s top photojournalists, he never stopped tracking the city’s dream of itself. He captured the exhilaration it provokes, the disappointment it metes out. Each of the photographs in this remarkable book about the city Laffont made his home captures the longing, the bravado, the blatancy of New York, and its monumental mess.” This is a book not to be missed by anyone who has ever visited, would like to visit, lived in or has any curiosity at all about the “real” New York City as seen through the eyes of a true visionary.
Tags: new york city
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