Andre Kertesz ‘OF NEW YORK…’

of ny

Andre Kertesz, OF NEW YORK… Knopf, 1976. 184 gravure printed photographs.

kertesz ws snow

kertesz window warp


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.

Walker Evans- Havana 1933


Walker Evans- Havana 1933. Pantheon, 1989. Essay by Gilles Mora.


Best $7 ever spent on eBay. Walker Evans first major photo-essay, to illustrate The Crime of Cuba, 1933, a political book by Carleton Beals with 31 Evans photographs printed in aquatone. By today’s standards the 1933 book has sub par photo reproduction. Havana 1933, 1989, has 111 gorgeous duotones printed in Italy.

I haven’t yet read Gilles Mora’s essay, translated from French, but I am familiar with another great photo book he did, Bernard Plossu’s New Mexico. Text by Gilles Mora, foreword by Edward T Hall. Plossu’s Frenchmans take on New Mexico, my home state, in the early 80s is another recently discovered favorite of mine. It’s easy to see how Mora would be drawn to the work of Walker and Plossu. Foreigners discovering a new cultures through the lens of a camera.

Evans photographs of Cuba were well received. The Museum of Modern Art exhibition and catalog, American Photographs, followed in 1938. The 1938 MoMA book currently selling for $3-4,000. I have the 75th anniversary edition. This book has long been considered a benchmark of American photojournalism/fine art street photography. Walker EvansHavana 1933 displays his greatness every bit as much as American Photographs.




Walker Evans in Cuba, 1933.



One year before the masthead.


Rancho Mantequilla-creative content celebrates first anniversary. Thank you followers.

William Christenberry RIP


William Christenberry

Alabama artist, photographer, historian, William Christenberry passed recently. A unique voice in the Deep South from the early 1960s till the end of his life. Sharply critical of racists around him, especially the KKK, his art and photography were the weapon of choice. A deep appreciation of the rich ordinariness of his Southern surroundings, like his contemporary, William Eggleston, make a gallery viewing of large Christenberry prints an enveloping experience. I saw a great show at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans.

Here’s a Terry Gross interview from 1997.


©William Cristenberry