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Strange Days Dangerous Nights: Photos From the Speed Graphic Era Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Borealis Books (October 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873515048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873515047
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 10.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

The photographs in this collection are taken from the files of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the St. Paul Dispatch, and span a period from the nineteen-forties to the mid-sixties. Among the many records of long-forgotten civic functions are shocking crime-scene photographs, a reminder of an era when the country's newspaper photographers—an army of Weegees, equipped with oversized Speed Graphic flash cameras and radios tuned to the police scanners—regularly provided readers with lurid coverage of violent crimes and spectacular accidents. There is a harsh intimacy to these photographs, which bring us as close as possible to car-crash victims, suicides, and mass murderers confessing their crimes. But the welter of detail in the pictures—the seamed stockings of a murder victim, the huddle of bystanders after a bar shooting—provides a nuanced portrait of a Midwestern city and of American culture at midcentury.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

Review

"A collection of vivid and sometimes spectacular photographs that throw new light on the not-so-distant past, a place that is a bit like home, a bit like a movie, and a bit like another planet. It is heartening to find such stuff so well preserved and so expertly annotated.? -- Luc Sante, author of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, Evidence, and The Factory of Facts

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Great photos and written very well!
P. H. Johannsen
An interesting chapter covers the changing face of St Paul, as old buildings are torn down to be replaced with new commercial units and suburbs.
Robin Benson
This in an interesting compilation of press photographs from the St. Paul MN area dating mostly from the 1940-50's.
Donald B. Mills

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John M. Doman on November 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book takes a wonderful look at the reportage of daily life in a small market daily newspaper before the advent of television, 35mm cameras and yuppified editors with abyssmally sophisticated news judgements. It speaks to the days when a newspaper was the important disseminator of news to the folks of post WW II America, the interpreter of what we were. The everyday stuff, ingeniusly putting their personal stamps on mundane photo assignments, illustrating everyday life, blood and gore, bad guys and good guys--the stuff the everyday Jane and Joe wanted to look at. Probably still do.

This book takes a different view from those historical photographic compilations of the NY Times, or LA Times or the Chicago Tribune, even AP. The photogs at St Paul did not get a chance to shoot the Hindenburg; but they did have plenty of chances to shoot snow storms, floods, and local queens of every sort. They did it with aplomb, and Larry Millett does a wonderful job writing about it, and an even better job of photo editing.

As a current photographer at the St PaulPioneer Press; I am blown away by the work of these guys. Really. I just never knew what these guys did on a daily basis--now I do, and I respect my profession even more.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on April 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
One advantage of this fascinating book is that you'll see these photos in about the same quality as the original prints. The readers of the two St Paul dailies only saw them printed in a relatively coarse screen but here they are presented in 175dpi on quality paper. The old Speed Graphic captured every detail with its in-your-face blinding flash.

The photos in the eight chapters show an intriguing look back to life in the city from 1945 to 1965, plenty of crime scene stuff (a few are very graphic if your are worried about seeing such photos) but also the regular city newspaper fare, celebrities, civic functions, public gatherings, kids having fun and plenty of sports coverage. An interesting chapter covers the changing face of St Paul, as old buildings are torn down to be replaced with new commercial units and suburbs.

Larry Millet does an excellent job of captioning the two hundred photos (mostly one to a page) not just a few words but two hundred or so for each image and his intro is a succinct review of the importance of news photos to local and city papers across America decades ago. Books about such photos from this period do rather concentrate on sensational crime and blood because they are mostly missing from today's papers. Millett explains that back then the press and the police enjoyed a cosy relationship and mostly didn't ask too many awkward questions about the police version of events. The papers got access to crime scenes for graphic photos and the cops had their faces in the morning editions for fighting crime. TV covers it all today but really gets no closer than the yellow crime-scene tape.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Filippelli VINE VOICE on January 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding look at Photo journalism in the 40s, 50s and 60s.There is a story for each of the photos. The book is not so much about the Speed Graphic camera its self but about the era in which the Speed Graphic camera was used from the 1940's to the 1960's at a small town newspaper. The are some amazing crime scene photos that you just dont see in newspapers today.

The book covers the use of photos and how they where touched up to enhance the photo and therefore enhance the story. All photo's are in black and white.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Hagstrom on May 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Growing up in St. Paul in the 1950s, this book is a classic. The photography is sensational and the copy humorous and accurate. The book captures the culture and era of the 50s and 60s. I witnessed many of the events pictured in this outstanding volume.

My brother was a photographer at one of the colleges in St. Paul and he used a Speed Graphic camera. He often followed fire trucks and squad cars around the streets of St. Paul and took equally fascinating photos. He sent me this book as a gift and I have not been able to set it down. The cover photo alone is worth the price of the book.
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By KEMSPMN on July 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was very interesting & informative of the Twin Cities from the 30s-60s. Enjoyed it very much. It is a great conversation piece when company is over and they are looking through this book. Thank you
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By Donald B. Mills on February 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This in an interesting compilation of press photographs from the St. Paul MN area dating mostly from the 1940-50's.

We have all seen a lot of these images from New York, but not from many other places.

This is well-worthwhile reading for those interested in the style and content of press photography in past years.
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By B. M Phillip on September 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am shocked at how the printed media was more "free" back in the mid 20th century than what it is today in terms of photojournalism. I am shocked and amazed that the papers would allow pictures of dead people on their pages. If that were to happen today, the PC express would start a letter campaign to shut the paper down. Besides that, the rest of the pictures capture the Twin Cities at its best and worst. For example, it peels back the veneer of the sunny times of the 50s to show that reality therein. It is a fascinating book and I hope that Larry Millett does another book in this milieu. Regardless, Millet should be commended for helping preserve our history in the Twin Cities.
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