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Pictures of people by Nicholas Nixon ; introduction by Peter Galassi

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New York : Museum of Modern Art, 1988. Hardcover. 226 pages : b/w photographs ; 25 x 31 cm. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!


Nicholas Nixon : Pictures of People
Introduction by Peter Galassi

Nicholas Nixon, born in 1947, is one of the outstanding photographers of his generation. Since the mid-1970s, he has helped to lead a revival of the large-format camera and the contact print—the formal craft favored by Edward Weston and Walker Evans, which had been out of fashion for over a generation. For the past decade, he has photographed people, producing pictures of a spontaneity and suppleness unprecedented in large-camera work.

The eighty-five plates of this book, in the size of the original photographs, reproduce Nixon subtle contact prints with unusual fidelity. They survey his prodigious output of the past ten years: the inventive pictures of groups of people, taken from 1977 to 1982; stark and eloquent portraits of the elderly; nude studies of Nixon's wife and small children; the series of annual portraits of his wife and her three sisters; and an excerpt from work in progress on portraits of people with AIDS.

Ten years ago, Nixon's mastery of craft and his surprising pictorial innovations brought new vitality to a venerable tradition. But most remarkable is the psychological depth of Nixon's work and its freedom from the familiar burdens of irony and sentimental cliché.

Nixon's photographs embrace the idea that sympathetic pictures of ordinary, unnamed people can address the deepest human values. They persuade us that we see individuals, not symptoms of a problem or heroes of the solution.

Published to accompany an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, Nicholas Nixon: Pictures of people is the first survey of Nixon's work. Peter Galassi, director of the exhibition, is Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, He is the author of Before Photography: Painting and the Invention of photography (1981) and Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work (1987).