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New York Noir: Crime Photos from the Daily News Archive Hardcover – November 20, 1999

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; First Edition edition (November 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847821722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847821723
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,470,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Ruth Snyder was electrocuted at Sing Sing Prison in 1928, New York Daily News photographer Tom Howard was there--with a miniature camera he'd hidden under the cuff of his pants. The resulting snapshot made the front page the next morning (under the headline "DEAD!") and provoked fierce controversy among those wondering if tabloid journalism had finally gone too far. But, as Luc Sante points out in his introduction to New York Noir, a selection of pictures from the Daily News archives, the tabloids "retailed exclamation points"--Snyder in the electric chair was merely an extreme example of imagery that was a regular staple of the paper's coverage.

Many of the photos in New York Noir are not for the squeamish: corpses in the street or slumped in their car seats appear regularly, as do battered and bloodied criminals and suspects. But the power of these stark images is unmistakable--they are, as the book's title indicates, the raw material for the gritty vision of urban life that film noir popularized. For some people, tabloid crime photos are synonymous with Arthur "Weegee" Fellig; only one of his pictures graces these pages, however, and the other photographers represented here (many identified only by last name or no name at all) demonstrate that his reputation relies as much on promotional hustle as on artistic merit. Whenever possible, archivist William Hannigan supplies background information on the people and incidents in the pictures--but it is the images themselves, rather than the stories, that will stick in the reader's mind. --Ron Hogan

About the Author

William Hannigan is an archivist who has been editing the Daily News photo library for three years.

Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York and Evidence, has written extensively on both New York City and photography.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
What a cool book.
H. N. Fullerton Jr.
There is a section of "Synopses" in the back of the book, which provides further information about the stories behind each photograph, when available.
The shock is enough to make your heart race when viewing some of these photos.
Monica D. Affleck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A quality photography book that visually recounts pertinent steps in the history of noir photography and more specifically, the creation of the term noir as it pertains to film and photography in the 20th c. in New York City. A breath of realism, history and fact that beautifully illustrates a fine curatorial example of the kinds of images published by the Daily News that made this paper a forerunner in the telling of real stories suffered and celebrated by real people. William Hannigan is to be commended for his fine selection of photographic and negative samples of a time not long past and still very alive in the movies and crime documents that inspire and fascinate us today. A necessary addition to any photo library of value.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By H. N. Fullerton Jr. on November 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What a cool book. It's sometimes disturbing to see some of these images of crime as beautiful, but they are beautiful, there's no escaping it. I picked it up because I like the whole genre of noir, but this book makes it very clear where Hollywood got all its ideas. Both essays are very good and informative, but what really marks this as a special book to me are the gorgeous photos and riveting stories of the people on both sides of crime in the city of the century, NYC.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chad Spivak on August 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you are a fan of photography, this book is definately for you. NEW YORK NOIR is chock full of amazing photographs that were the staple of the "New York Daily News." In this book, you get to see some of the poignant images that help define the term noir, and its connection to the silver screen industry, not to mention its effects on tabloid journalism. Many of these same black and white photogrpahs were often used as references to assist in making modern day motion pictures, helping to give a look into the past. From the days of "Three-Gun" Turner to the electrocution of Ruth Snyder, this book captures New York's horrid crime life in a candid, in-your-face style. There is nothing but unhidden truth in each and every photograph. NEW YORK NOIR is a well designed book loaded with powerful images and somewhat detailed descriptions. It is fascinating, riveting, and gives you a decent look at the roots of photojournalism. You can't help but be intrigued by the gritty, graphic photos that once graced the pages of a daily newspaper. It is one amazingly good book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The "Daily News" debuted in New York City in 1919. It was to be a newspaper for the common man, which meant not especially literate and frequently immigrant. Its currency was images, the more sensational the better. Nothing sold like sex, murder, and mayhem, graphically illustrated. By 1925, the "Daily News" was the best-selling newspaper in the nation. By 1930, twenty-three per cent of its pages were devoted to crime.
"New York Noir" is a selection of about 125 images from the "Daily News" archives, taken from the 1920s through the 1950s. Some are sad, some comical, some grotesque. They're an interesting comment on American urban culture of the time. Many of these photos would spark outrage if any newspaper were to print them today. Their lurid content earned the "Daily News" pointed criticism from many a moralist at the time. But that never hurt business. The style of the photographs had an immistakable influence on cinema and popular culture which continues to this day. The technical limitations that produced starkly flashed foregrounds and pitch-black backgrounds are instantly recognizable in Hollywood films, just as the corruption displayed in the photographs was reflected in popular entertainment. The demeanor of gangsters and thugs -often posed for the photographers- became iconic. Tabloid photojournalists may have wanted only to get the shot that no one else could, but they produced some incredible -and incredibly influential- photographs that have only become more fascinating with time.
Luc Sante introduces "New York Noir" with an essay about the history of tabloid journalism. Editor William Hannigan follows with a history of the "Daily News" and its influence on Film Noir. Both of these essays are very readable and worthwhile.
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