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Andrew Savulich: The City Hardcover – May 26, 2015
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Andrew Savulich's first photography book paints a unique portrait of the city's streets from 1980 to 1995.... both a tribute to tabloid photography in its heyday and the wildness of 1980s New York City. (Ellie Schroeder Observer)
When he makes prints for himself rather than for the paper, Savulich adds an extra dimension in the form of neatly lettered captions. They're deadpan and hilarious, leaving just enough unsaid to send your eye right back to the photos. (Christopher Bonanos New York Magazine)
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One of the most controversial photos in this book from Steidl is of a woman, sitting in a crushed car, smiling. She looks like she’s nuts, given the destruction all around her. Is she drunk? On drugs? Knocked silly from the impact? Whatever the reason for her out of place levity, it’s the perfect example of the insanity of the city at the time. When I see these photos from the city’s bad old days, I can remember the combination of danger and excitement. It wasn’t a place for the dainty.
Savulich isn’t much of a self-promoter, which is why I’d never heard of him until I saw this book. He was a Rutgers-trained architect, worked in Boston, then came to NYC to pursue a career in photography. He worked in construction while going to grad school for art, then began getting freelance assignments from tabloid papers. Nowadays the tabloids are on their way out thanks to the internet and the inability to shock people. As for Savulich’s photos, a whole lot of them had to be kept off the press because they were considered too edgy. But thanks to Steidl, we can see them in all their (dirty) glory.
Seeing these photos takes me back 30 years, to a time when New York City was dangerous, dark, and filthy. However, under all the grime, people still went to work, ate out, came home, got their kids to school, and didn’t die. People lived here, some enjoyed the city, some hated it. The 80’s and early 90’s in New York are remembered with nostalgia, even though the city wasn’t as much fun as it is now. Then again, even in the most dangerous times, it was much more exciting than the Long Island suburbs. Perhaps that’s why I loved coming here so much? Perhaps that’s why I was dying to go to school in the city? Some people just love crowds, honking horns, shouting drivers, and the short walk to the grocery store. Those are the people you’re going to see in this book.