"Well, it was open last week, I went in and bought something" A familiar thought if you live in a city, large or small, across America and discover that the store that had been there for decades is now closed: probably for good. James and Karla Murray have done us all a favor by capturing, for ever, the changing store front scene in New York. Amazingly, as mentioned in their introduction, almost a third of the stores in the book have closed!
The 220 photos cover the five boroughs with each getting a simplified street map and the relevant neighbourhood indicated, some copy provides background to the name and how the area originated. What gives the book a lift though is the frequent addition of interviews with the storeowners who provide insights about the history of their premises and the products they sell.
All the photos are straight on shots of the store fronts but don't think for a minute that this might be sort of boring because these stores are a kaleidoscope of colourful window displays with products, notices and neon signs, awnings, and an amazing selection of lettering for their names, plus many of them desperately need some renovation and this adds texture to the surrounding building. Photos that are this content rich just don't need any gimmicks or trendy angle shots. The book's large size also adds to their impact (check out the Product Details).
This is a large, chunky, beautifully produced coffee table book (though a shame it wasn't printed with a finer screen than the 175 used). I wouldn't have thought that photos of store fronts would have yielded such a fascinating collection of stunning photos but here they are. A visual treat!