The Atmosphere Of Crime, 1957 by Gordon Parks. Published by Steidl.
Long after 2020 has passed, it will be remembered as a watershed year for Black Lives Matter and racial awareness. It might seem a tall order to match the current zeitgeist with photos from over 60 years ago. But this book does so perfectly.
Parks’ photographs shine a spotlight on criminal justice and race relations circa 1957, cutting through the darkness to highlight how much has changed, and how much hasn’t. Steidl’s production is top-notch as usual, reproducing Parks’ Kodachromes with understated fidelity. By the time the reader reaches the concluding section, a facsimile spread of the original Life magazine essay, it feels as if something inside has shifted.
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Blake Andrews is a photographer based in Eugene, Oregon.