What is this small treasure of a book? Part fine art photo book, part street fashion fetish, a bit of pop urban anthropology — add the eye and rigor of a dedicated artist, and you have perhaps one of the most fun photobooks of the year.
NY LEGS is a curated selection from the wildly successful Instagram feed of women’s decorated legs, discovered and photographed on the streets of New York City by Stacey Baker (nearly 79,000 Instagram followers and growing by the day). The book has a great, short introduction written by Kathy Ryan, the famed director of photography at The New York Times Magazine.
I loved this series from the moment I first saw it a couple years ago, and it continues to delight and amaze me and make me smile whenever I check the latest on my iPhone (all the photos were made with an iPhone, too). NY LEGS is one of those rare instances when something that really works online also really, really works when printed and bound in a simply elegant small photo book that feels like a favorite collection of hidden treasures.
When you flip through this book — and flipping is what you do, thanks to the excellent design by Matt Willey coupled with the formal rigor of the cropping and framing of each photo to fit the same position of legs after legs after legs — you are instantly drawn in to the book’s celebration of shape and form, texture and patterns, individualism and quirky come-ons.
This is contemporary urban fashion with the grittiness and delightful juxtapositions of traditional street photography. The walls, the sidewalks, the stances of the poses, some coy, some defiant, some rock-solid are all celebrations of slightly outrageous independence, as if each is shouting out, “Oh yeah, this is me!”
Buy this book for yourself (and maybe several copies for gifts) — guaranteed to delight most urban cool seekers.
Editors’ note: For more, read this great interview with the photographer that we did in 2014.
Photos by Stacey Baker, introduction by Kathy Ryan
Publisher: Kehrer Verlag
Hardcover : 200 pages
Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.6 x 6.5 inches