Urban Encounters

Urban Encounters

Urban Encounters

Urban Encounters

Synopsis

American intellectuals tend to envision the modern city as a dystopia, their perception of urban life influenced by negative stereotypes and fictional depictions in popular culture. the author challenges this fatalism by approaching the city as a vibrant, lived space. Combining a sophisticated critique of the urban with striking, street-level images, the author reclaims the human experience of the city.

Excerpt

This is a book of images and text written for people who read on the way to work instead of looking at the city around them. the text is arranged into four sections: [Urban,] [Space,] [City,] [Streets.] They present an argument for approaching urban experience as a situation of indebtedness rather than as a site for enacting prior narratives.

There is play between images and text. Each is meant to be read with attention to the other. Both images and text function as instruments of thought; neither merely illustrates the other. the images are also independent of the text, arranged in sequences designed as [constellations] of city life. Each individual image also stands alone as testimony to life in the city.

The book encourages participatory reading in a way not different from reading in general but perhaps more self-conscious about the reading process. I wish to invite attention to how the processes of attracting meanings is indebted to situations in which readers find themselves as well as to the circumstances that make street photography possible.

Photography is not confined to arresting time as a holding back; it also uses the light to provoke a letting go—a tribute to the art of life. a bow to the city.

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