Superb book, fantastic photography that captures the everyday scenes and details of the photographers road trips across the U.S. in the early seventies. A perfect time capsule for anyone interested in the architecture and details of old Main Street America.
If you are both a fan of large format colour photography and a disciple of the New Topographics movement of the 1970s, then this book is a must. Shore takes you on a journey across the USA and Canada, giving you a visual diary of the places and the people he encountered. It is not a travelogue, but a vital and beautiful chronicle of the life and times of 1970s USA. The way Shore can turn an ordinary scene into a multi-layered statement on the world around us is amazing. Oh, and by the way, the image and printing quality is second to none. Just marvel at the detail and the hidden secrets in the images.
On page six of this large book, Stephen Shore writes, in the Artist's Note, 'The book you are holding in your hands amounts to what might be called the photographic equivalent of a director's cut.', and in the nature of such things you now get an additional ninety-four photos with the forty-nine that were in the original 1982 Aperture edition of the book, though this is not strictly true because some that were in the original are not in this edition.
I bought the original book because I loved the way Shore captured the everyday urban American outdoors and of course the amazing colour and detail. This new edition is even better because the photos are now larger, mostly 10.5 by 8.25 inches. The other thing I love about some of these photos is the way Shore captures the street corner, this seems to be a favorite composition (stretching back to the famous FSA photos of the Thirties) with contemporary photographers and Photorealists painters like Richard Estes or Davis Cone. Shore's 'El Paso Street, Texas, July 5, 1975' could just as easily be an Estes painting. There are several corner photos in the book and they are just stunning.
Another reviewer (on US Amazon) has commented on the amount of detail in these photos, helped of course by the two hundred plus dot screen, the original book used a 175 dpi. Apart from the screen it is interesting to compare images that appear in both books and the color does vary. 'Beverly Boulevard, June 21 1975' in the original (page 39) is predominately brown for the street area, in this edition (page 115) it has changed to a predominately blue cast. I wonder if this is the sort of thing that concerns collectors of first edition photo books?
In addition to the photos in this beautifully designed and printed book there are two text pieces, the first one, by Stephen Schmidt-Wulffen, includes twelve photos from Shore's 'American Surfaces'. The back of the book includes biographical notes and a useful bibliography.
This latest 'Uncommon Places' will be a book I'll look through for some years to come.
This is the collection that introduced me to Stephen Shore's work. It's a great anthology of selected pieces that demonstrate Shore at his best, presented in a suitably high quality volume. I can't count the number of times I've returned to this and devoured it from cover to cover. A great coffee-table book that family and friends alike will enjoy, but far better kept for yourself!