by Marla Hamburg Kennedy

Rizzoli, $45.00, 304 pages

A coffee table sized book New York: A Photographer’s City, by Marla Hamburg Kennedy, is a showman’s book of the mega city’s true-to-life snapshots. Justly a photographer’s work, this is not a book to be displayed to showcase the joys of touring New York City; it is a book for photographers displaying the artful shots of New York characters, graffiti, bad neighborhoods, the beauty of New York’s architectural design and everyday shots capturing the significant life of ordinary people. The photographs are sometimes numbingly mundane, sometimes morosely pathetic, and sometimes shockingly electrifying, but always pay homage to the real world in one of this country’s liveliest cities.

While the hustle and bustle of New York is fully captured, most photographs leave the viewer pondering the artists’ intent on why many of the particular photos were included, with many of them seeming to be picked up off the cutting room floor and put into this book. Upon deeper contemplation, isn’t that what art really is — the view from the artist’s eye, whether it is a happy view of life or a disturbing view of their reality? A very personal work, this book will captivate and disgust the viewer but is worth a look.

Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson,