Couples : Photographs

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When Art Shay was a photographer for "Life" magazine, his editor, the late Ed Thompson, gave him a valuable piece of advice about page layout: "If you play pictures properly on a spread, one plus one should equal three." Shay took that principle to heart, and he applies it rigorously in the photographs that make up this collection, capturing those moments of alchemy where the interaction between two people, animals, or even objects creates a spark of something greater. In the 126 photographs in "Couples", Shay shows us couples in love - walking, talking, kissing, embracing, dining, arguing - as well as many other pairings, human and nonhuman, whose relationship he has skillfully crystallized in a single instant of interaction. Inanimate air vents and grain silos as well as parents and children, siblings, friends, neighbors, famous actors and athletes, unknown passersby, dogs, and livestock - these entire rub shoulders - so to speak - in the pages of "Couples", sought out by Shay's keen eye and coupled forever by his impertinent camera. In a further application of his old boss's credo, Shay has arranged his pictures in couples, side by side, adding additional levels of couple-hood as connections between adjacent photos - sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle - become more

Product details

  • Hardback | 156 pages
  • 260.6 x 291.6 x 17.5mm | 1,102.24g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252028368
  • 9780252028366

Review quote

Praise for Art Shay's Photographs "Art Shay is an American original, and his photographs show an eye and an imagination that can look around corners. His photography shakes you up, sets you down gently, pats you on the head, and then kicks you in the ass." -- Roger Ebert "Chicago's Art Shay in many ways is to American photography as Nelson Algren was to American writing: that rare and absolutely necessary citizen who's blessed with a cold eye, a clear head, and a warm heart. What is it about Chicago that keeps giving us men like this?" -- Russell Banks "The backgrounds make me nostalgic for the Chicago of my youth, and the [animal] subjects for a pristine world before the evolution of the opposing thumb." -- David Mamet "I've admired Art Shay's work for almost forty years...[It] continues to be an inspiration to me." -- William Friedkinshow more

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