Book Review: NY in the Snow

“I love the surreality of snowstorms in NY.”—Vivienne Gucwa

To me the best kind of photo book is not a how-to book telling you how to use your camera or explain Photoshop techniques; While these books can be useful in helping you lean the vocabulary and craft of photography, my preference is for books that make you think about your photography and inspire you to make better photographs. Vivienne Gucwa’s NY in the Snow is just such a book.

I must admit that as a semi-native Westerner, I am more than a bit tired of looking at New York City as the cultural center of the known universe; if it didn’t happen here, it didn’t happen. Yet the images found in NY in the Snow are so universal that many of them could have been made in any big American city. In fact, more than a few of them remind me of the work of A. Aubrey Bodine’s (1906-1970) scenes of a snowy Baltimore. Mr. Bodine was one of my heroes and it’s safe to say that his photography influenced my work, in much the same way that Ms. Gucwa’s elegant and, dare I say it, romantic images of a big city in the snow will influence younger photographers in search of their own heroes.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think they made books like this anymore and Ilex Press is to be congratulated for not just publishing this book but lavishing high production quality on such a compact and beautifully reproduced volume. And it’s only through the use of the excellent reproduction that you can appreciate Ms. Gucwa’s vision and ability not just to make these stunning images but also to admire that she had to go slogging through some cold and wet weather to make them.

And while I was in love with her black and white photographs, like the one on the cover, many of her color images are simply magical. There is little text beyond a brief Introduction and Conclusion because the author has clearly let her images speak for themselves. And for those people who like this kind of thing, Ms. Gucwa has provided exposure information for all of the images.

If you’ve been looking for some inspiration—winter is coming—to get out in the snow and make some photographs NY in the Snow is the book for you. Amazon Prime’s price is so affordable you should purchase two copies—one for yourself and one to give to a friend.

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ilex Press
  • ISBN-10: 1781574154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781574157
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Price: $17.33 (Amazon Prime)

Author: Joe Farace

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