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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars B-I-G-time recreation, 22 Jan. 2006
Robin Benson - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mitch Epstein: Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (Hardcover)
Mitch Epstein devotes this Recreation book to many of his unpublished photos and they are presented in an impressively large format, nearly 16.5 inches wide by 10.75 deep, but I found this huge format rather unsettling because it became apparent to me that many of the sixty-six images lack the kind of detail that would benefit from this large page size. On the other hand there are many photos that are saturated in visual detail and clearly work in this almost mini-poster format. Plate forty-two, West Side Highway, New York City, 1977 showing a semi naked man resting on a sun-lounger near a parked Cadillac on some vacant ground with the Twin Towers in the background or plate sixty-six, Buena Vista, Colorado, 1988 with two happy model train fans surrounded by a diorama of tracks, houses and fake mountains are just two that will visually grab you. I thought it was unfortunate though that this kind creativity does not extend to all the photos.

Apart from the usual credits and photo captions there is no text in the book so it is left to the reader to gain their own insights about what is being revealed (and many of the photos clearly make me ask: what is going on here?) in this work. I suppose it is a bit old fashioned now to expect to read some technical reference about cameras and such but Mitch Epstein's work was featured in the two important eighties photobooks dealing with new talent, 'American Independents' (ISBN 0896596664) and 'New Color / New Work' (ISBN 0896594599) and both had this to say:

'Epstein used either a 6x9 cm Palm Press camera with a 65mm Schneider Super-Angulon lens or a Fujica GW 690 with a 90mm Fujica lens. Film was Kodacolor 400, Asa 120. If a strobe was used, it was a Norman 200 B or a Rollei Beta 5. Otherwise, the photographs were made with existing light. All prints are Ektacolor, 22x14 inches.'

One final comment, just where will anyone keep such a wide book? I would be happy to create some shelf space if I thought other publishers would put out photobooks in a similar format but somehow I doubt they will.
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Mitch Epstein: Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988
Mitch Epstein: Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 by Mitch Epstein (Hardcover - 3 May 2005)
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