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Hard Ground Hardcover – 25 May 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (25 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 029272649X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292726499
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 2.5 x 29.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 407,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"...this is a powerful book..." Guardian 10 June 2011 "Other collections of lost souls (Richard Avedon's In the American West comes to mind) are different... We meet O'Brien's people one on one. Their 'otherness' is removed. The photographs engender compassion and empathy. If that sounds simple, it is because it is simple. And, as you know, being simple is very, very difficult. Hard Ground is a rare and powerful book." JOHN LOENGARD Life magazine photographer and picture editor, and one of American Photo magazine's "100 most influential people in photography" "If I can think of a book to relate to this one, it would be James Agee and Walker Evans's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. That book was photographed in 1936--during the Great Depression--and published in 1941. It had an enormous influence--and still does--on the way photography and writing can work together as a catalyst for social change... I think Hard Ground has this potential." MARY ELLEN MARK internationally renowned photographer and author of sixteen books, including Seen Behind the Scene, Exposure, and Twins

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. David A. Cox on 10 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this as someone who likes photography, and as a Tom Waits fan. I'm afraid to say that the book dissapoints on both levels. I was expecting the photography to be as good as the picture on the cover all the way through the book, but the fact is that it isn't. There are one or two stand-out pictures, but on the whole they are (in my opinion, and I know it's very subjective) not that impressive. Similarly, the contribution from the great Tom Waits isn't the lyrical feast I was hoping for. It is basically a very expensive coffee table book which falls short on the content.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stuart D. Newton on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
The photography is excellent however Tom Waits was a bit light on the ground with his input in my opinion, but it was a gift for the mother in-law who loved it as she is a big fan of Tom Waits and homeless people, well maybe not a fan but the photos are excellent.
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Photography book etched in black and white films, depicting the charactered faces of deeply lined outlooks. Each details the flipside to that quest for a particular elusive dream = to survive.

Scarred furrows creased within lines of poverty stress, filled with too many beatings, racket feelings and good times battle the local elements, all broadcast in a long gone stare. Everyone is human, more than human than otherwise, illuminating a shrouded world, light years away from the gloss and froth broadcast in the sanitised adobe lifestyle magazines.

Interspersed are the equivalent of haiku poems placed at specific junctures to illuminate a nihilistic nothingness stirring around the misplaced lives of those frozen out of the big pow wow. It also brings to the fore a sense of the surreal lives experiences. Because within the songs are hard won moments. Those left out of the bigger picture traverse the kitsch and cultural froth of the world composed by admen. The deliver a resounding "no" to the life battery, the vestiges of the pomp.

One problem - the pictures appear studio cuts, with everyone placed against a blank wall. It would have been good to see the wider environments. I am sure not everyone lives in a Friends/Sex in the City/Manhattan apartment.

Adds something to the American Way of Life as it exposes the lies, deceit, propaganda and disdain carried within the everyday bland lifestyle. Something they take great pains to hide away from as the God of mass consumption drools its tongue and snarls.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr David Jones on 13 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A stunningly affecting book. Great images, moving accounts of the subjects, and well supported by the work of Tom Waits.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Impressive, makes one humble. Beautiful pictures. Unique combination Tom Waits and Michael O'Brien.
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