No, I didn’t copy photo-eye’s Book of the Week feature. I swear! I obviously admire the concept, and given that I’ve been writing reviews for photo-eye since several years B.D.E. (before digital era) I can understand any accusations of brand infringement. But I’m innocent, honestly. It’s convenient, though, that their feature and mine share a name; my blogging task this week is just that much easier. (They’ve been running their feature since summer of 2013; here’s a link to their BotW entries.)
I go a ways back with Lynn Saville. We first crossed paths in New York City sometime in the second half of the 1980s, possibly while I was screening portfolios as an Aperture work scholar. We’ve communicated sporadically since then; I’ve seen and enjoyed her earlier books including Night/Shift (Monacelli, 2009, with a text by Arthur C. Danto)
and Acquainted with the Night (Rizzoli, 1997, texts by Joseph Rosa and Bill Moyers, poetry by Philip Fried).
I have been intrigued by her work; it has opened my eyes, helped train my rods and cones to appreciate the shades of light after dark. And, in later work, to the colors of dusk, twilight, and artificial illumination—her images in her 1997 book were black and white, but adding the dimension of color has deepened the resonance of her work, effectively accessing the mysterious richness of urbanized environments.
Since the 1980s I have admired after-dark images by many talented, contemporary photographers:Tom Arndt, James May, Christopher Faust, Lance Keimig, Stephen SetteDucati (check out The Big Dig at Night), Karekin Goekjian, Tom and Troy Paiva, Stephen Tourlentes. To name a few. But Lynn is one of few women in the mix. Hmm.
While I was curator and program director at the PRC a couple of years ago I persuaded Lynn to lead a workshop in and about nocturnal Boston. Viewing the images in her newest publication, I am more and more convinced that her vision of cities at night, graced as they are with a sensitivity and instinct that are a bit uncanny, are not enabled solely by Manhattan-esque socio-cultural density. But she does do well in the five boroughs as you will see from the photographs.
I’ve created a gallery page of her images so as not to overextend this note. Enjoy!
p.s. In my review on photo-eye I refer to a group called the Nocturnists. I got that wrong; the group is The Nocturnes (see their website here).
Dark City (Urban America at Night)
Photographs by Lynn Saville
Texts: Foreword (“The Archaeology of Overnight”) by Geoff Dyer; Afterword (“Dark City”) by the photographer
Design: Yolanda Cuomo and Bonnie Briant, Yolanda Cuomo Design
Published by Damiani Editore, 2015
Acquired from the photographer