About photobooks – old and new.
Author : Bruce Davidson
Title: East 100th Street
Publisher: Harvard University Press/Cambridge/Massachusetts
Year: 1970 (First edition)
Hardcover, tan cloth with one photograph affixed, printed acetate dust jacket. 130 pages, including 123 black-and-white photographs.
(There is also a softcover edition from 1971 and a second hardcover edition from 2003, published by St. Ann’s Press)
Although Davidson has many interesting body of works, including “Brooklyn Gang” (my favorite), this book may be his most famous one, selected by Andrew Roth for “The Book of 101 Books” and by Matin Parr and Gerry Badger for “The Photobook: A History volume II”. “East 100th Street” is a humanist social documentary of the African American and Latino communities living in East Harlem, more specifically around one block on 100th street. Even though Davidson seems to approach his subjects with respect and humanity, photographing them in their authentic and sometimes intimate environment, the overall set of photographs leave the reader with a gloomy sensation.