Here is even more proof that the differences in exotic cultures have already been conquered and eliminated by globalization — at least in three large cities on three different continents. Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom has documented the sameness of fashion and trends and every-day urban living in 21st century Paris, New York, and Shanghai. This superb photo book is more about cool book design, and obsessive anthropological-sociological typologies, than it is about great photography. But it is a gem.
The brilliant design of the book folds out to reveal three connected books with identical sequences of near-identical subject-matter: opened and stretched out on your reading desk you have three books side-by-side. It then becomes natural to turn the pages of all three books simultaneously as you proceed. With delight, we are presented with, for instance, photographs of French, American, and Chinese men all wearing camouflage clothes as fashion statements in all three cities — lots of men, lots of camouflage, in cities!
This pattern continues to an amazing degree with all sorts of typologies to compare and contrast: huge public sculptures, people wheeling luggage and boxes through city streets, traffic jams, urban places to relax, and even an hilarious triple spread of women sporting Louis Vuitton look-alike handbags.
Tony Godfrey writes this in his introductory essay:
"For a book of art photographs, there is an extraordinary array of images. Having opened it, I turn the pages of each volume simultaneously: I can see sixty photographs of men in striped shirts; turn again, and I see an army of seventy-two men in suits marching to work; turn again, and a panorama of empty civic spaces. What are we being told? That this is a small world after all? Is this a Family of Man on a minimal grid?”
This book forces those questions, and more. And though no single image is a stellar, stand-alone photograph, there is generous volume of photographs here — 1,256 color images to be exact.
— Jim Casper
Photographs by Hans Eijkelboom
Introduction by Martin Parr
Essay by Tony Godfrey
Hardcover; triple-volume binding
1,256 four-color images
10.5" X 8.75"
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