The street life and political tensions of Tod Papageorge’s late 1960s New York, in a two-volume clothbound presentation.
This publication comprises two books of pictures Papageorge made after moving to Manhattan as a young man. As different as they are from one another—each book advances a distinct argument supporting Papageorge’s belief in photographic “fiction-making”—together they amount to a comprehensive portrait of an uneasy city during a grim, fevered time.
Down to the City follows (and ironically twists) the first sentences of Plato’s Republic, threading phrases from Socrates’ description of a religious festival through a stream of pictures seized in Manhattan’s secular streets. This novel-like flow builds the sense of a place haunted by dystopian disorder, which is amplified late in the book when the war in Vietnam takes center stage, clarifying the tensions leading to that moment.
The Dear Common Round traces a softer arc. Here the actions and exchanges that a city’s people make in the streets thousands of times a day are photographically honored simply and directly, as if the style of picture-making, at least initially in the book, had reverted to the first days of hand-camera photography. This changes as the sequence progresses, but for all its increasing visual and narrative complexity, The Dear Common Round holds true to the promise of its opening: this is a city sweet, if serious, at its heart, built to belong to and cherish.
About the Author
Tod Papageorge was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1940, and began photographing during his last semester of college before graduating with a degree in English literature in 1962.
His work has been widely exhibited and is represented in over 30 major public collections. Steidl has published Papageorge’s Passing Through Eden: Photographs of Central Park (2007) and Dr. Blankman’s New York (2018).