Andre Kertesz, OF NEW YORK… Knopf, 1976. 184 gravure printed photographs.
I remember seeing OF NEW YORK… in the MoMA bookstore around the time it was published. $22.50 was a lot in 1976.
The book left a lasting impression. I’ve loved gravure printing of black and white photographs since I discovered Weegee’s Naked City in the stacks at the old LA Main Library, 1968. Another gravure printed masterpiece is William Claxton’s Jazz. The first edition, 1952, of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment and Verve magazine, 1937-39 were printed in heliogravure, in Paris. All of these publications are classics of black and white photography.
When I sell my own work I nearly always blow the proceeds on records, photo gear, music gear or photo books. These are my luxury items. Found OF NEW YORK… on eBay and jumped on it as soon as the description got to 184 gravure prints! That’s what made an impression on me in 1976, looking at the book in MoMA store. The greatness of Kertesz, enhanced by the velvet richness of gravure.
I put on the new Willie Nelson CD, God’s Problem Child, when I got home from the Post Office. Opened the package and took a joy ride through OF NEW YORK… Put on Rodney Crowell’s new cd Close Ties about halfway through the book. Suffice it to say, I love New York City and great photographs of NY are also special to me. Weegee’s Naked City, a love letter written in 1945. OF NEW YORK–memoir of a love affair 1937–1976.
Andre Kertesz at home, Greenwich Village NYC.