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Portrait of Long Island Hardcover – 21 Jun 2011

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Downsizing 12 Jun. 2011
By Conrad J. Obregon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Credit the publisher Monacelli Press with audacity. No denizen of the North Fork would ever consider combining photographs of that beloved realm with images from the land of the archenemies on the South Fork. But Monacelli's audacity doesn't end there.

In 2006 Monacelli issued a book of Rajs' images of the North Fork, "Between Sea and Sky: Landscapes of Long Island's North Fork", and in 2008 the publisher issued "Beyond the Dunes: A Portrait of the Hamptons". Like a true North Fork fan, I reviewed the earlier book and not the later. I praised the North Fork book for capturing the feel of the place as no other set of images had. I was particularly impressed by the way Rajs handled light and by the way he captured the feeling of the relationship between land and sky. Those who love the North Fork will love this book, as will those who love landscape photography.

As far as I can tell, all of the photographs of the North Fork in "Portrait of Long Island" originally appeared in the "Between Sea and Sky", although only about one-third of the images in "Between Sea and Sky" appear in "Portrait of Long Island". The essay on the North Fork in "Between Sea and Sky" has been edited down for "Portrait of Long Island". "Between Sea and Sky" measures 9 and ¾ inches by 11 and ¾ inches. "Portrait of Long Island" measures 7 and 1/8 inches by 9 inches. Thus page size in "Portrait of Long Island" is just a little more than half of the size of "Between Sea and Sky". Some of the photographs in "Portrait of Long Island" have been reduced to one-third the size of the same image in "Between Sea and Sky". (I had no copy of "Beyond the Dunes" for a comparison although it appears to be of the same size as "Between Sea and Sky").) The printing in "Portrait of Long Island" does appear to be of the same quality as "Between Sea and Sky".

Perhaps it's because I've seen the artist's images in exhibition in sizes as large as 40 inches by 80 inches and found them drop-dead beautiful (if far more expensive than dozens of books!) In any case I find the reduced size of the images in "Portrait of Long Island" to be extremely disappointing in comparison to the larger images.

One can speculate on the publisher's motivation in publishing the smaller book. I suppose if one can't afford the more expensive larger book, or if one just wanted a memento of the East End of Long Island, it would be better to purchase the smaller book than to miss Rajs' wonderful pictures. But if you want to have a better appreciation of the work of a great photographer who captures the spirit of a place as well as anyone can, get the larger book (or perhaps even both larger books.)
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Perfect housewarming -- excellent memento 9 Aug. 2011
By MajorMajorMajor - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Makes me hungry to return. I received this as a gift from a friend who knows how much I appreciate landscape photograpy, and love Montauk and the north AND south shores. I have since bought it as a gift for my Israeli neice who is living on LI for the summer. She said it encouraged her to do more exploring and go beyond just the beach, to experience the moments of peace she saw in the book. And she has since given it as a gift to her hosts. The points of view are not typcial and staid. When you live near ocean, every day brings a new view of what could be the same landscape but never is. I highly recommend it.
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