Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Yorkers

October 1963

September 1960

July 1962

July 1962

September 1960

September 1961

July 1962

August 1963

August 1964

From an archive of 60,000 Manhattan street-photographs left to the Library of Congress in 1967.

The images were made between 1952 and 1966 by a tormented, reclusive man named Angelo Rizzuto. He had no friends. Not only were his pictures never published in his lifetime, they were never even seen by anybody except himself.

Scholar Michael Lesy discovered the existence of the archive while doing picture research for an unrelated project. He became fascinated by Rizzuto's work and started piecing together an account of the photographer's isolated life.

In 1985 Lesy published a book called Visible Light: Four Creative Biographies. One of those biographies was devoted to Rizzuto.

Then in 2006 Norton issued a book called Angel's World (still in print, I am glad to say) with 98 of Rizzuto's prints very beautifully reproduced in Verona by Mondadori. Michael Lesy's 1985 essay serves as the book's introduction.

Rizzuto had dreamed of producing a book himself. He intended to call it Little Old New York, Three Centuries After, by Anthony Angel.

As Lesy makes clear, Anthony Angel's wispy grasp of everyday reality would have made him incapable even of approaching a publisher. All the same, forty years after his death, the world has at last begun to give him a little respect.