One Man’s Eye: Photographs from the Alan Siegel Collection

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The Ringling Brothers freaks on the cover of One Man’s Eye seem to promise a collection of weird, scandalous, strange-but-true pictures in this album of one collector’s favorites. Instead we get a beautifully purposeful sequence of 20th century works by photographers both celebrated and unknown, covering the various subgenres of camera art: portraits, still lifes, nudes, landscapes and much more — Imogen Cunningham’s yawning Calla lilies, Man Ray’s abstractions, Irving Penn’s ethnographic studies, Robert Frank’s priceless slices of ’50s America, Rocky Schenck’s ghostly silhouetted trees. Siegel clearly knew what he was looking for in bringing together this excellent cross section. There are enigmatic shots and masterpieces, poignant moments and public emotional displays. One of the best is Garry Winogrand’s Los Angeles, Ca. (1969), in which three lovely young ladies on a street at sundown hesitate before the sight of a young man hunched over in a wheelchair. Of the 120 plates, 30 are in full color, and every one is worthy of a long, thoughtful gaze.

Check out other big books which will transform your coffee table into a gallery this season.

George Tysh is Metro Times arts editor. E-mail him at gtysh@metrotimes.com.

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