New York. Photographs by Keizo Kitajima. Biyakuya-shobo, Tokyo, Japan, 1982. 140 pp. Large quarto. First edition. Clothbound in photo-illustrated dust jacket. Full-page black-and-white reproductions.
Equally fascinated with the Manhattan's prosaic street life as well as its seamier underbelly, Keizo Kitajima's landmark 1982 book harkens back to both Weegee and Klein. His images highlight the stark juxtapositions and quiet desperation of city life and, in the tradition of the flaneur, his eye zooms in on the passing celebrity, occasional decadence, and random displays of outrageous behavior.
"Kitajima's aesthetic, at least here, is all about round edges and people who are anything but average. Some are hard-working immigrants whose faces loomed close to Mr. Kitajima's lens as they hurried along the street. Others are celebrities (Mick Jagger) or soon-to-be celebrities (the young Madonna, when her face still had pores), drag queens or denizens of the Mudd Club or CBGB's. Some are simply people waiting for something to happen, like the rogues' gallery of five men behind a police barrier on Fifth Avenue.
"These photographs belong to a long tradition of urban street photography and may not be particularly original. Still, they have a subtle, seeping power. Nearly every one of them catches on the fly some element of the personal tensions, yearnings and thrills that make city living what it is."--Roberta Smith, from a 2006 NY Times review of Kitajima's New York photos at the Amador Gallery in New York.
Fine- in Fine- dust jacket; trace of wear at 'tips' with light foxing to preliminary pages and edges; crisp and bright jacket--no tears or creases--with moderate foxing