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NY Through the Lens Paperback – November 24, 2014
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"A large part of what makes Gucwa's atmospheric photography so enthralling is her mastery at capturing light. Through natural light she is able to convey seasons, moods, nostalgia, and introspectiveness in the midst of the bustle of New York." - Print Magazine
Vivienne Gucwa captures the moments that make our New York minutes -- a snowy Times Square, the Manhattan Bridge lit up at night, a quiet walk through the West Village. A book tailor-made for any Gotham aficionado. - New York Post
"While Gucwa captures the everyday moments of the city, her photos also capture a dreamy element of the city." - The Weather Channel Online
"They're not just shots of a city at night or in the snow, they're photos of The City somehow, something timeless and invoking a feeling of fantasy. I love her narrative, too; it adds so much depth to the photos, and a very personal sense of the experience. However you describe her work, whether you're a lover of New York, The City or just great photos in general, Vivienne's book is well worth the price!" - Imaging Resource
"If you want an authentic account of what all the different boroughs and neighborhoods of New York City feels like, not looks like, then do yourselves a favor and pick up a copy of this book for yourself." - Photofocus
"...this 192-page book is filled with beautiful images that capture the color, vibrancy, artistry and uniqueness of New York City. In short - it never looked so good." - Yahoo News
From the Inside Flap
There is a series of decisions you go through while conceptualizing and shooting street photography. Some decisions are conscious and others are subconscious, fueled by influences and flights of imagination.
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Each visual vignette is immersive. Whether it's an alleyway in Chinatown or a wide open street in Times Square, there's a sense of scale that magnifies both the size and the congestion of the city. The overall palette looks modern, but feels nostalgic.
All the lovely imagery on its own makes for a good experience, but Gucwa complements her photos with personal, but relatable statements about her connection to her home, as well as her craft. The content switches between reminiscent stories, tales of wonder, and poetic passages; they come together as a sort of diary, its pages steeped in love and adoration for a city with many suitors. The images pull you in, but the text holds your hand as a personal guide.
If you're a photographer (or an aspiring one), flipping through the pages should give you some additional satisfaction, as the camera model and settings have been included alongside each photo. The cameras vary in ability and technical strength, but it's clear that the images-- and their creator--do not.
New York is often romanticized, so it's hard to do so in a way that feels unique and genuine. NY Through the Lens manages to accomplish this feat without feeling hokey or contrived. It's a really fantastic collection of photography and a strong collection of writing. Pick it up.
Unlike many photo books, this one has coherent text, too, written in an almost confessional style that tells me more about Ms. Gucwa, a NYC native but from the far side of the East River (Queens). She is a good writer, adding just enough text to make the book more interesting, not so much you read half and move on. Her captions are mostly good, but many are repetitive if the pictures are similar -- in the vein of "Rooftops looking north from Empire State Building," "Rooftops looking south from Empire State Building," etc. But essentially it's a good read as well as a good look.
Photographers take note: This isn't a photo how-to book, other than teaching by example. Ms. Gucwa includes info on camera, ISO and lens settings, but doesn't say what lens she used. In some cases it's not an issue -- she took many of the photos on her iPhone -- but when she used a pro level DSLR, I would have like to know what glass she shot through. Not that buying the same lens would make me as good a photographer....
Despite its few minor slips, NY Through the Lens is a great book for folks who love the Big Apple. I'm glad I bought it, and I think you will be, too.