Marianne Robinson

Paperback / $30.00 / isbn: 978-1-58790-236-9 / 89 pages / 5.5 x 8.5”


Photography / New York City People & Places


The author writes, “As I was making these urban photographs in New York during the 1970s, I became aware that what interested me was the rapidly changing face of the city. It was a love affair between my camera eye and the city in the painful throes of transition. As the old buildings I photographed were being torn down or squeezed precariously between towering, impersonal structures, I felt increasingly that part of me was being demolished too. It became my urgent mission to capture the moment between yesterday’s function and today’s demolition. Many of the old buildings pictured here have since disappeared, along with the people who lived or made their livelihood in them.


The photographs in the first part of this book were made in Manhattan on long walks through the city’s neighborhoods—uptown, downtown, East Side, West Side. Close-ups of structure, texture, and detail interested me as much as longer and wider views depicting the juxtaposition and irony of diverse elements in the cityscape.


The second part shows people as I found them—on the streets, in the parks, at work, at play, or indoors. Though people rarely appeared in the cityscapes, they took center stage when I photographed them in their neighborhoods. During this period I worked as a photojournalist, did special theme projects for publication, had my work published in newspapers and magazines, and exhibited at galleries in New York City.”


Among formative experiences of Marianne Robinson’s childhood and adolescence were an extended family and community of freethinkers, anarchists, and socialists; an experimental school; and many moves during the Great Depression and World War II. Her adult life has been a juggling act of jobs, singing, activism, motherhood, poetry, photography (as represented in this book), self-employment, and creative projects. The determination to make personal choices in the face of relentless economic necessity is a central theme in Robinson’s art.

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