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Bellocq: New Orleans Photographs Hardcover – Import, 1996

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 84 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224042645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224042642
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 0.7 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,617,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
One of the most extraordinary collections of photographs ever published. I suppose I still prefer the original 'Storyville Portraits', but it's certainly good to have so many extra photos, hitherto unpublished. It's so difficult to describe the unique qualities of these strange, compelling images. They seem suffused with pathos, sometimes simultaneously grotesque and romantic. I love the photo of the naked girl scratching a butterfly into wall-plaster. She seems almost to be a pinned-up specimin herself, flattened across the space of the wall. But the lighting - here and in all of the images - so lovingly sculpts the figure that all feelings of exploitation vanish.
Susan Sontag's introduction is a big disappointment. She seems to have little to say and shows very little real feeling for the photographs. For much more sensitive insights you need to find the original introduction - consigned to the back of this edition - or read Michael Ondaatje's 'Coming Through Slaughter' and Brooke Bergen's 'Storyville: A Hidden Mirror'.
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Format: Hardcover
My literary introduction into turn-of-the-century New Orleans, specifically Storyville, was a novel by Frank Yerby entitled "The Girl from Storyville; A Victorian Novel". On the cover of that particular edition is an artists rendering of one of Bellocq's Storyville photographs. The images of that book have remained vivid in my mind for more than 20 years, and when I saw the photos in this book, I was once again taken back to a life and time so long ago, and yet so real. The stark, poorly lit images extoll the gritty, decidedly non-aesthetic world in which these women lived. It is, at times, disconcerting to view the gay smiles on their faces, knowing , or at least supposing, their misery. The history of that place and time will continue to fascinate me as will the very real record preserved for us by E.J. Bellocq.
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Format: Hardcover
New Orleans' Storyville was prior to it's closing in 1917, the only legalized red-light district in North America. The photographer Bellocq (inaccurately portrayed in the film "Pretty Baby") recorded it's woman in a series of mesmerizing and touching portraits. In 1970 New York's Museum of Modern Art
put on an exhibition of the long forgotten, recently re-discovered photographs (painstakingley reprinted from the original negatives by their rescuer, the noted photographer Lee Friedlander)and issued an accompanying book. I borrowed the book from the library while in art school several years ago and have lusted after it ever since. Long out-of-print, but recently reissued and expanded, I found the book at Amazon.com. Beautifully printed and presented, the photographs still retain their hold on me...
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