About photobooks – old and new.
Author: Marie Tomanova
Title: Young American
Published in 2019 (first edition/first printing) by Paradigm Publishing, edition of 350 copies
4to, softcovers photographically illustrated
Marie Tomanova, originally from Czech Republic, is currently living in NYC, more specifically in the East Village where many of these pictures were taken. She was drawn to the fashionable youth of downtown New York. They are party people, fashion people, club and art kids. Marie meets them at openings, bars, backstage at fashion shows, and through DM’s on Instagram.
As Ryan Mc Gangly explains in the introduction, Tomanova has the advantage of being from another country with fresh eyes and a different mindset, with whom her subjects feel at ease to be photographed and like to pose for. The decor for her portraits are the typical tenement buildings, their rooftops, hallways, and private interiors of the East Village.
Marie Tomanova and Ethan James Green (see book here) captured similar youth communities, but they have very distinctive photographic styles. Both are interested in a generation who is redefining gender identities and expressions. Thomas Beachedel describes these portraits as a visualization of an America in which individuality is valued as uniqueness and not judged as a lack of sameness.
Tomanova photos, however, are very distinctive. She is less concerned about the esthetic formality of her pictures, she prefers to concentrate on the spontaneity of her characters, providing more intimate portraits and images without artifice. Her subjects are photographed at less than two feet from her. The closeness and transparency of these portraits allow us, the viewers, to really see and feel the power of each individual. Looking at her portraits in this book feels like the subjects are looking back at us (Thomas Beachedel).