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Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000 Hardcover – March 31, 2015
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—Luc Sante, Author of Low Life
"Thayer's work here is a time capsule, a vision of a way things were, a city that once was. It reminds us that the DIY spirit is in the heart of this city. We must, against all pressures, show those who come after that there are other ways."
—Jesse Bransford, Chair, Department of Art and Art Professions at NYU
"Captures a remarkable period in NYC’s recent history"
"Thayer's own experience squatting in the Lower East Side is evident in every photo. Hers was a rarefied vantage, one where the lens of an outsider would never have been welcome. Kill City is a unique opportunity to experience New York City at a turning point, just before its last revolutionary vestiges faded away."
-The Daily Mail
"Unlike most journalists and photographers, who often time gave squatters 'bad press,' Ms. Thayer was able to document the movement and her friends through a lens of intimacy that has rarely been captured."
-New York Observer
"Thayer’s pictures document a poignant divide between then and now, depicting a New York that’s unimaginable today."
-Time Out New York
"The photographs, in both hazy color and black and white, are shot with celestial lighting in a direct, candid style"
"every so often, images or stories come along that stop us in our tracks "
As Seen In:
The New Yorker
American Photo (Best Photo Books of Spring 2015)
Animal New York
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
A little background on the author; Thayer came from Memphis Tennessee, didn’t get along with her southern peers, went to SVA, had no money for rent, and found the See Squat via word-of-mouth. The book has an intro by Reverend Fran Morales, where he tells us how the locals, themselves poor and marginalized, didn’t want the squatters there. Most of the squatters were young and white, while the “locals” were mostly Hispanic. Both groups, however, were really in the same dire circumstances, and if it weren’t a squat full of young whites, it would’ve been a squat full of junkies. Take your pick.
One of my favorite things about this book is that it documents the clothing styles of the time. Greens and browns predominate, lots of dark blue workman’s clothes can be seen too. The author points out that androgynous looks were popular among young people at the time, with Doc Martens being the norm for both genders. Perhaps it’s because the boots last a long time? Or maybe these kids came from rural towns where everyone worked in farms or industry? I also surmise that the 1990’s Alphabet City, not yet the “hipster” enclave it is now, wouldn’t have been a place to see colorful clothing, worn by socially competitive people.Read more ›
One of this things that I find compelling and stands out about these images is that Ms. Thayer manages to convey a sense of respect and camaraderie for/with the people who are her subjects in the book. This is touched on in the text. These could be photos of people on the way down. The images don't read that way. In the author's capable viewfinder we see people, making (and fighting for) their world in difficult, but relate-able circumstances. While I would think many of the subjects in the book found themselves in these pages while wrestling with their lives, I find the directness and trust and industriousness depicted here very inspiring.
The photos that make up this book are intelligent, sincere and (somewhat counter intuitively) beautiful.
There is text and some explanation as to how the squats worked, who some of the residents were and a few of their stories. I find myself wishing that there were more text and more written about the people, but all told, I feel lucky that this volume exists.
I am very glad the author had the good sense to take the pictures, and keep taking the pictures and recognize their worth later and generously share them with us.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For the sake of making sure everyone just goes out and buys this book, I will keep this review short (see Goodreads for my full review). Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sarah Schantz
A beautiful glimpse into an important movement and time in NYC. So glad these images exist. Ash is an outstanding photographer. I hope to see more books out by her soon!Published 12 months ago by lalaland
Beautiful and intriguing Thayer gives a unique perspective on the covert lives of the squatter of the 90s, unseen by any else. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rachel