Coral Press Arts is pleased to announce the publication of Today’s Special, a photobook by Jeff Rothstein. Born and raised in Brooklyn and now residing in Manhattan, Rothstein is a quintessential New York photographer who has tirelessly chronicled the evolving city’s life on the streets. Today’s Special features photos of people going about their lives—some famous, most anonymous—as well as a cityscape of littered sidewalks and dilapidated buildings set against the modern skyscrapers.
The shots were taken over four decades, from 1969 to 2006. “‘Reading’ the photos in Today’s Special, I sense an almost fictional account assembled after the actual times when these photographs were shot,” writes art critic Robert C. Morgan in his essay in the photobook. He continues, “But the story these photographs tell is imposed on a powerful history, beginning with the escalation of the Vietnam War and concluding with the tragic aftermath of the Iraqi invasion. None of this we see directly, only perhaps glimpsing in the faces and gestures of his subjects. They tell a more authentic story at any given time as they move from their solitary living spaces into the public space of crowded anonymity—the streets of New York.”
Photographer Jeff Rothstein’s photobook, Today’s Special, New York City Images 1969-2006, is a document of a city that no longer exists. It contains, 48 Black and white images, all shot on film.
In the book’s introduction, art historian and critic Robert C. Morgan situates Rothstein’s gritty black-and-white photographs as belonging to a genre that includes Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, and the beat chronicler Allen Ginsburg. He cites these photographs as appearing to be casual but, in fact, filled with a paradoxical magnitude of intimacy combined with historical empathy.
Though many of the images evoke a grittier era, they still have a timeless quality.
Why Black and white: To me, it’s more moody, mysterious and abstract.
Favorite decade to shoot: The 1970s, for sure. The city was in decline but the photo opportunities seemed unlimited.
Why film: Of course, most of the images were shot before the advent of digital. I still shoot black and white film. I loive the tangible, aesthetic component. For me, digital is a bit too sterile, too perfect. Though I do have an inexpensive digital compact that I use to shoot color with.