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From Publishers Weekly
This is a stark exploration, in archival photography and crisp commentary, of the full range of criminal darkness. Prepared by Buckland (who teaches at Cooper Union and is coauthor of The Magic Image: The Genius of Photography, etc.) with commentary by Evans (The American Century), the volume commemorates the 10th anniversary of Court TV along with a documentary series of the same name, which begins airing this month. The book is organized by subject matter ("Crime Scenes," "Killers," "Sensational Cases," "Retribution," "Gangsters," "Presidential Assassins"), while the authors' essays and captions provide deeper discussion of forensic photography's development and evolution in the American consciousness: the '40s noir landscapes of tabloid photographers like Weegee; shocking images from the public domain, like the surveillance pictures of Patty Hearst committing robbery with the SLA; or bootlegged autopsy photos of Dillinger and JFK. The photos are comprehensive and well selected, offering a plethora of jarring images, human horror and guilty thrills. Snapshots of notorious and obscure killers provide concrete portraits of the banality of evil, while the rapist/murderer Harvey Glatman's photos of his bound victims evoke safety's fragility. As this book owes a measure of its flavor and some specific images to earlier anthologies of crime photography, notably Luc Sante's Evidence (1992), it arguably represents an incursion of once-marginal "crime culture" into the mainstream. Buckland and Evans offer an elegantly rendered coffee-table volume of depraved indifference and needless sorrow. 200 b&w photos (Oct.)Forecast: Fans of Law and Order, viewers of the Court TV series and other mainstream crime buffs will line up to buy this slick, attractively produced collection.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
If photo historian Buckland (Cooper Union) intended this to be an insightful analysis of forensic photography, she fails by falling victim to the medium's powerful potential for spectacle. The cover photo of two bloodied male corpses lying in the detritus at the foot of an elevator shaft heralds the book's gruesome content. Buckland's disavowal of voyeurism ultimately rings false. Instead of expanding upon the brief history of crime photography that appears early in the book, she saturates the... read more
When shots ring out, photographers shoot back. Their images can startle, inform, and serve as witness. Mundane and profound, gruesome and compelling, crime photographs are, for better or worse, part of our world. Featuring many rarely and never-before-seen images, this heavily illustrated book sheds new light on the role of crime photography in our history and in our culture.
These are pictures we see once and never forget: an autopsy photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald; the bodies of Lizzie Borden's parents, photographed in the room where they were slain; mug shots of celebrities such as Larry King and Bill Gates; and O.J. Simpson pictured wearing shoes that match the footprints at the murder scene.