Invisible City

Recalling some post-apocalyptic vignette from the 1980s meets a maelstrom of dark gritty aftershock inhabitants of East Village, New York. The work printed by Steidl is reminiscent of the layout and aesthetic of the oeuvre of Daidō Moriyama. Gripping and a very real sense of anxiousness when experiencing the gaze of the photographer, let alone as a voyeur in the confines of my apartment. The feelings I get when viewing the images are strangely all too familiar. I’ve been here before I’ve witnessed a similarity in the work of Anders Petersen’s Cafe Lehmitz and yet, this is the work of one of Americas most underrated photographers Ken Schles. All three photographers choose a monochromatic aesthetic, to convey a sense of being ‘in the moment’, it isolates the context of the subject, whether it be some drug user, a pair of lovers, a prostitute or even a menacing-looking dog. If colour were present, it would only detract from the startling content we are privileged to witness in this analogous document. I perused two of his books; Night Walk, and Oculus being the other. His work is a very dark aesthetic that adds more drama to the story of the images, which I like (a lot). Okay, the books are not overly large they measure 9.1 x 6.81 inches. Compared to a landscape photographer’s book, they’re relatively small. However, the photographs pack a punch and the book is extraordinary and is well worth the money spent. 

Using Format