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Mitch Epstein: Family Business

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3882439137
ISBN-10: 3882439130
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Steidl (November 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3882439130
  • ISBN-13: 978-3882439137
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 11.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A fascinating study of a family trying to cope with changing times. The family in the 3 generation family furniture business was unable to keep up to date with business practices. Family conflicts also contributed to the decline. At the same time the city of Holyoke was also unable to cope with the changing diverse cultures in the city. The city was dying along with the family business. No-one seemed to be in a creative leadership position to save either. Beautiful photos by a loving son. Memorable story.
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By A Customer on April 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Family Business by Mitch Epstein is a stunning personal and historical document. Seminal work- not to be missed.
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By Robin on August 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I found Mitch Epstein's book a fascinating attempt to extend a book of his photos into a mixed-media experience. The material was readily available: the failure of the family furniture store and property rental business in declining Holyoke (just north of Springfield, Massachusetts) and closer to home the tensions between the Epstein family and others.

The potential for a great photobook almost comes off. Certainly there are some stunning photos, especially portraits of the Epstein family and professional folk in Holyoke and the location shots of the town show what a grim place it has turned into. Epstein's photos have a richness of color and detail that is impressive.

Where the book fails for me is the mediocre attempt at mixing photos, graphics and text into a seamless whole. The main text is on fifteen pages in the front of the book and it looks very dull, no photos or graphics to backup the words. A few other equally dull looking text pages occur throughout the book. The few archive graphic images (a furniture flyer for the store, a letter, a scribbled note from a sales conference, an expenses sheet) are presented flat on the page rather than used in any creative way. Where the photos and text work well are a few pages of video images and captions showing Epstein's dad dealing with evicted tenants on a winter's night.

The credits say that Mitch Epstein did the design and layout, I think he is he is a much better photographer than publication designer. Family Business is beautifully printed (175dpi) and it's a shame that these great photos lack the extra graphic material and presentation that would have made an intriguing and fresh statement about commerce and family relationships in America today.

***FOR A LOOK INSIDE click 'customer images' under the cover.
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Format: Hardcover
A somewhat sad narrative on the demise of the business and related interests, but too quickly gets into a bit of a "woe is us" mood -- an almost predictable tale of a dysfunctional family relationship, poor business instincts and a decaying urban environment. When you see the merchandise, you'll wish the fire started there. Great photography, though.
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