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Sun City Hardcover – July 13, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Benteli Verlags Ag Dist (July 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3716513032
  • ISBN-13: 978-3716513033
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,099,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Okay, first, I have to admit that I have a special place in my heart for Sun City. It was where I got my start in photography as a high school kid, photographing the same kind of people and events that Granser did (only I did it for peanuts for the local paper). That said, as someone who's been there with a camera, Granser does an excellent job at capturing the fundamental weirdness and unintentional humor that lurks in a place where lawn bowling is the happening to thing to do, and people think nothing of driving their golf carts to the grocery store. His photos are straightforward yet subtle, the kind of images that invite you to explore every corner.

To be sure, there are a few (in my opinion) weak points to his portfolio of images. Granser falls into the trap of making some cliche "Americana" photos of the type that European photographers love to make: there's a lead-off shot of a guy dressed like Uncle Sam in front of a flag, of course, and he also made sure to find some codgers target-shooting in the desert so he could get the obligatory photo of someone clutching a firearm. He also seemed a bit too fascinated by shots of gravel lawns adorned with cacti, but then again as someone who grew up in the desert I'm used to seeing those.

All in all, though, the flaws of his work are minor in comparison to the set of images as a whole. I've been wanting to see the whole thing ever since a few were printed in the 2002 World Press Photo annual (where Granser won an award for them), and I'm glad to see them being given the book treatment.
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Format: Hardcover
Sun City, Arizona is a massive retirement community with a population of over forty thousand and should have provided plenty of creative scope for some excellent reportage photography. I was rather under whelmed though with this book by Austrian photographer Peter Granser. The first thing I noticed was how washed out the color photos looked, as if they are all slightly underexposed, well, maybe that's what the place looks like with the sun shining all year round but the few interior shots also look underexposed.

Of the fifty-four photos in the book sixteen show expanses of exterior bungalow wall, a bit like Lewis Baltz's book 'The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California' but Baltz was able to make the mundane look interesting, the Granser wall shots look tedious. Another twenty-three images show retired folk not doing too much, though by the nature of retirement communities there are obviously plenty of activities provided but hardly any are covered and this is the basic problem with the book, it is a European photographer's perspective of a place that is filled with ninety-seven percent white American, reasonably affluent old folk (incidentally, just under a quarter of these retirees have German ancestry). There are just too few photos in the book that are worth a second look.

There is also a rather rambling photobook essay by Klaus Kleinschidt with the usual impenetrable sentences like:
'The portrait of a person is both: It is profane in that it can be seen every day, and it is sensational in that every person is unique as a phenotype, in rare moments of tension even pointing towards something beyond himself'.
Perhaps having it translated from German didn't help.

There is a photo story to tell about Sun City but unfortunately Peter Granser isn't telling it to me.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
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