12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Good, but leaves me wanting more,
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This review is from: Monsters: Human Freaks in America's Gilded Age: The Photographs of Chas Eisenmann (Paperback)
Devoted to the work of Victorian-era Bowery photographer Charles Eisenmann, this book is a reprinting of an edition published in the 1970's. I can't compare the two editions, but this one (put out by ECW Press) contains a number of essays about Eisenmann's working methods, Victorian photographic conventions, etc., and 87 plates accompanied by biographies of the performers depicted, except in the case of several unknowns.
I applaud Mr. Mitchell and ECW Press for reviving this project, but I wish the book were better researched and included a fuller range of Eisenmann's work. The photographs are quite nicely reproduced and exceptionally clear. But I wonder why -- out of a collection numbering 500 images -- some of these photos made the cut and others did not. The author includes multiple images of some performers when a single example would have done just as well. Sometimes less is more, and deleting the extraneous shots would have allowed for inclusion of more interesting subjects.
I guess we'll have to wait for someone else to publish a definitive catalogue of Chas. Eisenmann's freak portraits. In the meantime, this book is worth owning, despite my reservations.