About photobooks – old and new.
Self-published in 2011, edition of 100
8vo, softcover, 54 pages
“Alphabet City” is the third book from Pascal Anders (he has published many other books since then – see here), all self-published and free – Pascal generously game me one of his last copies. This book strikes me by its simplicity and yet intriguing sequence of photos. There is no text, no explanation of the author’s purpose, letting the reader interpret and construct his own narrative.
The photographs in Alphabet City are carefully framed. Anders adopted in all pictures a straightforward shooting approach by always taking frontal views of the subjects. This allows him to integrate in his pictures perfect vertical and horizontal lines, from buildings, sidewalks, and windows. These geometrical compositions also integrate a subtle human presence, either with an occasional passer-by, wall murals, cars, among other elements.
As a whole, the book can be seen as a sequence of fragments of buildings and corner streets of Alphabet City, in which the human presence is subtly alluded to. Anders is able to maintain a sense of neutrality, but also mystery, in his photographic approach. “Alphabet City” is a contrasting documentation of a neighborhood that has always been portrayed as poor and known for its criminality.