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City of Shadows: Sydney Police Photographs 1912-1948 Hardcover – February 5, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Historic Houses Trust Of New South Wales (February 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1876991208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1876991203
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 8.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,518,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David Murray on November 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The book is quite haunting. Being Australian, I'm a bit biased in claiming the book as a remarkable social and historical text. Doyle's explanations (the book came out of a museum project) are succinct and have an easy sophistication (no po-mo verbocrap here!). For those who don't know, it's probably helpful to mention that Doyle is an academic who also writes genre fiction (Marlowe style detective-crime novels set in Sydney in the mid 1900's).
The text is more than a regional history though. The photos included in SoS illustrate what the 20th century cultural critic Walter Benjamin theorised about in terms of a photograph's potential "aura" - a strange weave of time and space that takes it beyond being just a reproduced image; Not art as such, but something with historical, social function and maybe even asthetic qualities; The photos' posers here in SoS seem themselves, separate from the containment of the frame. Put another way the subject, not the photographer, is seemingly controlling what the image does to the viewer.
In this sense the photos do have an amazing beauty and universality. They are funny, sad, disturbing, addictive while, dare I say it, creating their own "historical reality". This book is so much more than morbid voyuerism.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr Barnaby on April 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My initial interest in this book was for the mug shots particularly how people dressed back in the day. I guess Peter Doyles' Crooks like us book is the one I should've picked up (I will down the line) but I'm glad I got this book because it had a much more broader look at the period which gave more of a setting to which the mug shots took place.
I thought the book could do with a little less death crime scene photos, which is an interest of mine but in this case I didn't think so many were necessary. The more miscellaneous photos such as missing persons and unknown origin photos (like the comedic fighting trio one) were few but were more of interest to me which I didn't expect. I would've liked to see more photos of immigrants but that's more of a personal interest. And the photos of crime scenes that occurred inside homes were quite emotional.

The layout and spread of the pictures are greatly executed with a loose theme order (car crashes, crime scenes then mugshots) using as much space in the pages as possible. Many photography books leave too much white space, not this one. For me it wasn't boring in any one section. It draws you into the world that it creates. The photos are incredibly large and crisp. With a book like this, it seems like you never get enough content because you just hunger for more photos, more details of peoples' lives. I curiously fancied quite a few of the people :) It's a definite keeper, I won't let it go.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wasn't too keen on the arty aspect of the author's interpretations of the shots, but all in all a fascinating read. With these being recovered negatives from a flooded warehouse in Sydney, the quality of the majority of photo's is incredible. Highly recommend for those interested in history. Quite peculiar the fact that this book was cheaper to buy on this site than my local Sydney bookstore. Great buy!
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By Roza Oremek on August 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great album
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