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Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era Hardcover – November 7, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A longtime architectural photographer, Burley's images of abandoned film manufacturing plants serve as a record of a defining moment in the history of photography." -- CNN

"The Disappearance of Darkness is testament to human ingenuity, and indifference. The physical scale at which photography functioned for decades is remarkable, as is the rate at which that scale was diminished and then destroyed. We are not far from the time, if we are not already there, when a person will not be able to reconcile how images of outsize factory buildings, networks of pipes, and loading docks relate to the creation of a photograph. That is Robert Burley's ultimate point... you can't be reminded about something that has already been forgotten." -- Imprint

"The Disappearance of Darkness is an exceptional chronicle of photography's 'transition from industrial to information age,' and I can't imagine any photographer not appreciating this book." -- Photo Life magazine

"Suppose they gave a revolution and only one professional photographer came ." -- The Globe and Mail

"More autopsy than obituary... Disappearance is an impressionistic investigation of the film industry-the local economies it once sustained, the many thousands of people it employed, the process by which its increasingly scarce products are manufactured." --The Nation

"It is already a kind of elegy." -- The Guardian

"Incredible shots of what was once a thriving industry, now sadly in decline." -- Popular Photography

"Haunting images documenting film's slow fade to black including photos of old Kodachrome labs, classic photo booths sitting unused and, most strikingly, shots of Kodak plants being demolished." Imaging-resource.com

"Full of poignant insights, both visual and literary, into a bygone technological era." -- The Economist

"Burley has traveled the globe over a period of six years and photographed Ilford in London, AGFA-Gavaert in Belgium, Polaroid in the Netherlands and even Dwayne's Photo in Kansas, which became known as the last lab to develop Kodachrome. The resulting project, Disappearance of Darkness, is a bittersweet visual eulogy to film, shot on the medium whose demise it documents." -- Wired

"Ask me about film, and my head gets light and my heart races. Had it not been for all those bulk-loaded rolls of Tri-X I tore through in the 1970s, I would have few memories of what had been the landscape of my youth. Those same emotions - of joy, confusion, excitement and, yes, loss - are vividly evoked by Robert Burley's book "The Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era." In it, he chronicles the breakneck speed at which film and the huge factories where it was produced have almost vanished. He has pulled back the curtains and taken the viewer into places where film, paper and chemicals were cloaked in darkness - both literal and legal. Using a 4-by-5 film camera whose technology itself harkens to the 19th century, he has produced a meditative and loving look at an industry that has imploded like the dozens of factories that have vanished into rubble and empty lots." -- New York Times Lens Blog

About the Author

Robert Burley is an established artist who has been photographing for over twenty years. His work explores the relationship between nature and cities, architecture and the urban landscape. Burley currently teaches at Ryerson University's School of Image Arts in Toronto, Canada.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1st edition (November 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616890959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616890957
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rick Grant on November 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Robert Burley has done the history of analog film a great justice with this book. His prose, and of course his photographs, documenting the world's unstoppable move over to digital photography is a fine and final send off for a medium that truly did change the world.

This is a wonderful merging of writing and photography tinged with sadness for a passing giant.

Film will continue to be used for decades by some but there are now new born generations of photographers who have never seen it. There are as well passing generations of old photographers who don't miss it at all.

But in reading Mr Burley's book I got a real feeling of what a thundering giant in the world of Art film once was.

His quoting of Shelley's "Ozymandias" is truly apt. The last two lines of that poem capture the glory that once was, and has now faded.

"Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rick Vivian on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautifully presented chronicle of a bygone era in photography and the demise of the "analogue process".
Curator Alison Nordstrom states in an accompanying essay: "We can hold this book in our hands and turn the pages for our
children, and tell them what we remember of a different time from theirs."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paulino Vito Varela on January 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed every word of this book. I know that the past is a lonely place to stay, but the way the book was written made me recall when i used to have Kodak as a reference, both products and business. I live in Brazil, in a town named Sao Jose dos Campos and we had, ten years ago, one good Kodak operation here, I guess more than 2000 employees. Now the plant is closed, the main build still exists but the land is for sale. One lonely faded billboard still says KODAK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam North on May 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a sad moving documentary of the demise of photographic film manufacturing
I am still digesting through the book
I am pleased there is a documentary on the demise of photographic film manufacturing before too late
This book will be Remembered in years to come
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NYdirector on October 8, 2014
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A wonderful book, a sad book and an unusual book. A peek behind the scenes of Kodak's film manufacturing plants and their destruction. A beautifully produced farewell to the age of film. Lots of unique photos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bert on February 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A personal journey of an industry coming to terms with its own demise. Very sad to read through this book as a film user of many years. I am very happy Mr. Burley took the time to do this for all the rest of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Walter B Turner on January 10, 2015
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Sad, moving
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