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Julia Reyes Taubman: Detroit: 138 Square Miles Hardcover – December 31, 2011
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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With any luck, this exquisitely packaged collection of images might inspire some real action and positive answers. It might spark philanthropy and investment. Perhaps artists will see it and move to Detroit, where they can find the sort of inexpensive spaces that Brooklyn used to offer. Or it might stir local pride, assail apathy and arouse curiosity. There's only so much a book of pictures can do, however. This one does its part. The rest is up to those who look inside the covers. (Janet Tyson Cassone)
'Detroit: 138 Square Miles' by Julia Reyes Taubman just may be one of the finest photo documentary books of a modern America ever produced. It takes us into some of this country's finest stuctures built at a time when Detroit stood as a symbol to the world of American ingenuity and a testament to the possibilities of mankind. Not only does it celebrate this great city, it humanizes it, and gives us its people along with its places.
If you like cities, you'll love this book. (Jason Sheftell Daily News)
A thorough, meticulous survey, the book not only captures the destruction but finds factories still puffing out smoke. The swaths of urban prairie are punctuated by scenes of citizens in bars abd bowling alleys. An image of an east-side neighborhood shows stuffed animals tied to a utility pole in a style synonymous with makeshift memorials - a reminder that the ghost city exists allongside one still fighting for its life. (Editors The Wall Street Journal)
She’d spent seven years taking pictures of abandoned buildings and other derelict tableaux... She took thirty-five thousand photographs and chose four hundred. They make you want to go there but maybe not stay. (Nick Paumgarten The New Yorker)
Of the extensive books of photographs published about Detroit in the past year that present―Ms. Taubman’s Detroit: 138 Square Miles (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 480 pages, $65.00, Dec. 31, 2011) is the first to document the city and its flaws, but also to demonstrate that, for better or worse, there is life among those ruins. (Micheal H Miller The Observer)
The end product, the book itself, belies criticism that this is a socialite's vanity project. It bears sober witness to Detroit's greatness and its status as forgotten city ― authentic, harshly treated, evolving rapidly as its housing stock crumbles and its once-heroic monuments fall to fire, wrecking ball and neglect. (Laura Berman The Detroit News)
...enormous, impressive photography book (Mike Vilensky The Wall Street Journal)
Although she didn’t intend to create a book when she started, the results of her obsession with documenting the city in all its faded glory have now been collected in a substantial, exquisitely produced volume, Detroit: 138 Square Miles (MoCAD). (Ted Loos Vogue)
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Top Customer Reviews
The book captures this. It is by far one of the most even-handed assessments I've seen, and because it doesn't "shock" the viewer (I think a good word would be "entice"), it demands a lot more from you. I like how one critic derisively called it "ruin porn" - as if ANY collection of contemporary photographs of Detroit can avoid showing physical deterioration - when in reality it doesn't fetishize the physical condition in nearly as entrepreneurial manner as other Detroit books floating around. There is a human side to these photos which isn't found in cheesy pseudo-photojournalistic efforts. It treats the physical as inseparable from the spiritual: both are found in these pages.
After living in Michigan for a while, I've concluded that no one is ever going to produce a book, film, piece of music, or any other art form which can encapsulate what Detroit is all about. It must be seen and breathed and lived to be understood. It is an intoxicating and confusing place, with no equal anywhere. This book nails it. In many ways, the debate this book has created here only contributes to Detroit's legacy, because the city encourages it.
And there aren't even any page numbers on the photo pages. So if you're just leafing through the book and want to know about a picture that caught your attention, you have to leaf through the thumbnail caption pages until you possibly find the thumbnail which might or might not be there because not every picture got a thumbnail and even if there is a thumbnail it might or might not have any information about the photograph.
I mean really. Imagine a museum of any kind where there is no identification for the objects on display, and you had to leave that room and go to a room in the basement to see if maybe there is a tiny picture of the object to find out about it. Once you've found that tiny picture if it even exists there and read its caption if there even is one, you go back upstairs to resume your browsing.
The photographer did an amazing job. Whoever designed and laid out the book should never be hired to work on such a project again.
Plus it's very heavy when leaving through it. Glad I had amazon PRIMe - because I hate to think what shipping would have been.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Julia does great service to Detroit in photographing the best and the worst of my hometownPublished 15 months ago by Txncraig
Let's be clear, this is a picture book. There is no narrative of each photo telling about the place, it's history, etc. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Adam M.
I saw the referral link from InstaPundit. Who is the biggest anti-Detroit and racist Conservative blogger out there. Read morePublished on February 8, 2013 by Chuck K8CPA
Fabulous book about 'all' which is Detroit, in the 21st Century. Featuring images relating to the demise, the decay; and the ashes from which the 'Phoenix of The Motor City' shall... Read morePublished on July 22, 2012 by Eric R. Erickson
She caught the essence of the changes in Detroit and it is very sad what has happened to a once vital city.Published on April 19, 2012 by Marcia Lynn Scafuri
Well done indeed -- Ms. Taubman depicts the images of Detroit in unadulterated fashion, demonstrating not only skill with the camera, but also a keen eye for beauty amongst decay,... Read morePublished on March 6, 2012 by Ben Beller
I give this book 5 stars. The obvious passion the photographer has for this project can be felt in her photographs. Read morePublished on February 4, 2012 by B. Roberts
I was thrilled to get this book as a gift. I'm sorry that someone had to spend the 40 bucks on it. I get it. It's supposed to be pictures spanning the entire city. Read morePublished on January 31, 2012 by Pete
My father in law and I enjoyed this book very much. he worked in the "D" in the 1960's~1980's and I worked in the "D" 1981~1997. Read morePublished on January 30, 2012 by BJ