New York Photobooks

About photobooks – old and new.

Peter Spaans – New York from the Yards


Title: New York from the Yards

Author: Peter Spaans

Published in 2011 by Unconart in Amsterdam;

Square octavo. Long accordion fold-out, printed on rectos only, with 52 images from Peter Spaans’ New York from the Yards Series – published originally in 1986. Photo-illustrated wrappers.

This is a special edition of 100 copies, signed by the photographer, and published to coincide with his exhibition at Harper’s Books, October 15, 2011 – January 1, 2012.


This photobook compiles 52 photographs of New York City’s subway storage yards. They were all taken between the autumn of 1984 and spring of 1985, when Peter Spaans walked through all five NYC boroughs, especially in the surrounding areas, in search of a vantage point form which the photographer could capture the city as a whole. Accidentally, Spaans came across the subway storage yards, these large open spaces where he could develop another perspective about the city. Even though they were heavily guarded, Spaans was able to grant the cooperation of the MTA to gain access to them.

The images include rail yards, overpasses, train tracks, and the surrounding architecture. The majority of the photos exclude any human presence, reinforcing the idea of the end of the city, where no one ventures to go, but surprisingly well surveilled and protected by fences or high walls.

Peter Spaans offers with this series of photographs, originally published in 1986, a different perspective on New York – neglected and desolate storage subway yards in stark contrast with the vibrant and polished city center.

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This entry was posted on March 27, 2016 by in New York photobooks.
March 2016

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