Album for an Age: Unconventional Words and Pictures from the Twentieth Century
In forty-five years as one of America's liveliest photographers for Life, Time, and other assignments, Art Shay has established a world-wide reputation for capturing the oddities of the moment. His photographs of Khrushchev, Liberace, Harry Truman, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Nelson Algren, George Solti, and hundreds of other luminaries are not the usual portraits; they are people off-guard, memorable for their humanity rather than their celebrity. But, unlike other great photographers of his time, Art Shay has a way with words. His prose is sharp, vivid, and evocative, the product of a well-nurtured mind and a cultivated intellect. In Album for an Age he puts both his words and his pictures to work, and the result is a delightful, entertaining, thoughtful, and sometimes wacky sightseeing tour of many of the major personalities and events of the last fifty years. "Daumier," Mr. Shay writes, "taught me to aim my predatory camera at the contumely, at snobbery, pretensions, cruelty, and the machinery of petty power." Some of it, though, he can't help liking; all of it he writes about with wit and insight. Here is a marvelously unconventional book by an unconventional photographer not a picture book but a book with pictures.
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