About photobooks – old and new.
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 were shot from eight of New York’s rail yards. They include rail yards, overpasses, train tracks, and the surrounding architecture. Despite being different rail yards, they all share the same state of decay and desolation, in stark contrast with the remote city centre. 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 walls.
Peter Spaans offers with this series of photographs, originally published in 1986, a different perspective on a modern and big city like New York. A vibrant and polished city center surrounded by neglected and desolate storage subway yards.