Destined to land close to each other in a library collection, these two books are so different they might be describing two worlds, not one city. Rajs shoots his New York as if he were on an assignment for National Geographic. His city is rich in polychrome power. It is so lovingly composed that to a native New Yorker, it looks like somewhere else. The dazzle that Rajs captures is not in daily routine but in the wonder of photography that builds glory through mastery of the medium by aiming at places, moments, and urban majesty. Hamill provides a fine opening essay that is long on history, careful about nostalgia, and realistic about the ups and downs of New York City. No glistening monument to human industry, Hart Island in New York Harbor has supported a cemetery, a charity hospital for women, an insane asylum, a jail, and now a cemetery again. Artists Hund and Sternfeld show it to be a secret place?a small island full of common graves, long trenches filled with pine boxes of forgotten dead?and in the process throw a meteor at people who think they know New York. Their photographs are generally brown and gray, visions of a lonely place in a lonely winter. The labor pool for the death detail is a cadre of prisoners from the city's jail at Riker's Island. These tough urban men seem softened by their work, by the finalization their digging brings to lives that never really got started. No single part of this book seems masterly?not Hunt's introductory essay, not the straightforward photographs under heavy clouds, not the images of crudely marked coffins large and small. But as a carefully collected volume, it is a moving and memorable portrayal of a secret place crammed with anonymous New Yorkers. Both books are recommended.?David Bryant, New Canaan P.L., CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc /// Scalo Verlag, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Scala Verlag, Germany, 1998. Fine copy in fine dust jacket of this sought after Sternfeld first edition. This is the story of Hart Island, the Bronx, in the Long Island Sound, commonly referred to as "Potter's Field". Well-known New York-based photographer, Joel Sternfeld has created a series of colour photographs, which are complemented by installations of artist Melinda Hunt. The book represents a discovery, a documentation of an unknown territory right in front of the doors of New York City. After the purchase of the island, approximately one mile long and one-eighth to one-third of a mile wide, by the City in 1868, Hart Island has served as a cemetery, a charity hospital for women, an insane asylum, and a jail. During World War II the Island was turned over to the Navy. Later it served for housing of male derelicts, as a NIKE missile base for the US Army, for a narcotic rehabiliation programme, and finally as a cemetery again. Today, the inmate work details are bussed from Rikers Island to perform the burials, disinterments and maintenance of the Island. Since 1869, more than 750,000 burials have been performed. Hart Island is not open to the public. Seller Inventory # ABE-13930920024