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After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire [Paperback]

Mark Klett

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Book Description

10 Feb 2006
How exactly has San Francisco's urban landscape changed in the hundred years since the earthquake and cataclysmic firestorms that destroyed three-quarters of the city in 1906? For this provocative rephotography project, bringing past and present into dynamic juxtaposition, renowned photographer Mark Klett has gone to the same locations pictured in forty-five compelling historic photographs taken in the days following the 1906 earthquake and fires and precisely duplicated each photograph's vantage point. The result is an elegant and powerful comparison that challenges our preconceptions about time, history, and culture. 'I think the pictures ask us to become aware of the extraordinary qualities of our own distinct moment in time. But it is a realization that a particular future is not guaranteed by the flow of time in any given direction.' So says Mark Klett discussing this multilayered project in an illuminating interview included in this lavishly produced volume, which accompanies an exhibition at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006" features a vivid essay by noted environmental historian Philip Fradkin on the events surrounding and following the 1906 earthquake, which he describes as 'the equivalent of an intensive, three-day bombing raid, complete with many tons of dynamite that acted as incendiary devices.' A lyrical essay by acclaimed writer Rebecca Solnit considers the meaning of ruins, resurrection, and the evolving geography and history of San Francisco.

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"After the Ruins is a remarkable achievement. A moving commemoration of a tragic centennial; the residual landscapes of San Francisco that beckon from these words and pictures remind us of history's power and its proximity. Klett, Fradkin, and Solnit are brilliant guides through San Francisco landscapes then and now." - William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West." "There has never been a book on this subject with these perspectives and this depth. The combination of Fradkin's solid historical research with Solnit's illuminating historical insight combined with Klett's extensive rephotography breaks new ground." - Robert Dawson, photographer of Farewell Promised Land: Waking from the California Dream"

About the Author

Mark Klett, Regent's Professor of Art at Arizona State University, is author of eleven books of photography, among them Third View: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West (2004), Revealing Territory (1992), and One City/Two Visions: San Francisco Panoramas 1878 and 1990 (1990). His photographs have been shown and are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, and the Huntington Library. Philip Fradkin is author of ten acclaimed books on the American West including The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906: How San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself (California 2004) and The Seven States of California (California, 1997). He shared a Pulitzer Prize while at the Los Angeles Times. Rebecca Solnit's previous books include River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (2003), winner of the 2003 National Book Critic's Circle Award, Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2001), and Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West (California, 1999).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Photos from the 1906 Fire (Earthquake) of San Francisco 26 Jun 2007
By Angie2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I received this book along with another one called: "Denial of Disaster: The Untold Story and Photographs of the San Francisco",by Gladys Hansen.

Both books are wonderful to read together because the book by Hansen describes what happened during and after the 1906 Fire (and/or 1906 Earthquake), and this book by Fradkin shows more photos from the tragic event. Thus, I recommend both books highly.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important documentation of how urban disasters change urban landscapes 19 Aug 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
AFTER THE RUINS: 1906 AND 2006 - REPHOTOGRAPHING THE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE has been a century in the making, and deserves a spot on any collection purported to be even halfway authoritative about San Francisco or California history. Its purpose seemed simple: to capture the meaning and impact of the 1906 quake through juxtaposing 'before' and 'after' photos, right down to the very angle of original landscapes. The idea was to also document how the city's landscape changed because of and since the quake: black and white and duotone photos by photographer Karin Breuer compliment essays by Philip L. Fradkin and Rebecca Solnit, longtime writers on California history, compliment an outstanding survey. College-level holdings on urban planning and design also should make this a special pick: it's an important documentation of how urban disasters change urban landscapes.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For San Francisco Lovers 19 Jun 2008
By raceinggreen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone who loves San Francisco needs this book. Its obvious that a lot of work went into making this book. Its not a slap-dash book put together by some promo conmpany. It was lovingly created to allow us a before and now look at the City.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars San Francisco Earthquake and Fire...... 6 Aug 2008
By Mike L'Alouette - Published on Amazon.com
This book is good, but more on a "slow to grow on you" scale. I've been to SF., so a lot of the places in the up-date photographs I knew. In that sense, it creates a better impression of the scale of the damage, with the more panoramic studies being (visually) comparable to either Nagasaki or Hiroshima for their almost shock value.
Good Book: Glad I got it !
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