Manhattan New York

Gerrit Engel

If one leafs through it in a distracted way, one may not perceive the interest in this book. This is a clinical remark: significant buildings of New York are photographed from the front (as much as possible), without any spectacular setting nor sunsets, without any bewitching shadows, in a white uniform light. In short, in the straight line of the documentary work of the Becher couple. This honesty, the refusal of the picturesque make these images that do not impress one nor do they bore one. And one feels like coming back to them, to compare them, to see how the face of a city evolves. For the 176 buildings are classified in chronological order, from the Morris-Jumel Mansion in 1765 to the Hearst Tower of 2006. One sees the unique buildings that were so dear to Serge Gainsbourg: he was an enthusiast of the sequence of tenses, in «New York is tall», he quotes above all the Waldorf Astoria from 1931 and the American International Building from 1932. As well as some pearls of lower stature such as the Sylvan Terrace, former horse stalls from 1882, or the Rockefeller Guest House from 1950, designed by Philip Johnson.

• Manhattan New York, photographs by Gerrit Engel, Imprimerie nationale éditions, 2006, 324 p., ISBN :2-7427-6442-9 , 75 €.

Manhattan New York - Gerrit Engel

Review published in the newsletter #23 - from 16 November 2006 to 22 November 2006

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