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From Publishers Weekly
Photographer Plachy proves you can go home again and again in this stunning photographic voyage to her native Hungary. Plachy weaves together contemporary and vintage photographs, mementos and pictures of movie sets (including several from her son Adrien Brody’s Oscar-winning turn in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist). Together, these pieces come together like a puzzle, recreating an Eastern Europe that has weathered dictatorships, two world wars and is now opening up, confusedly, to democracy. The images of stray shadows, apartment buildings studded with bullet holes, and eerie reflections are as evocative as they are subtle. They remind us that great photographs don’t have to rely on shock value to move or disturb. Plachy accents her work with memorable vignettes of her childhood in Communist Hungary as well as of her repeated journeys back east as an adult and an American citizen. One of the most touching of these small stories involves the photographer’s grief-stricken mother, inconsolable after the deaths of her parents in Auschwitz. One day, while her mother stared at a framed photo of her deceased parents, she saw a gold moth land on the glass. "From then on golden butterflies and moths were sacred," writes Plachy. As the book goes on, relative after relative surrounds herself with images to bring back lost loved ones. By the book’s end, we see Plachy herself doing the same thing and realize that through this book she has invited us on a private tour of a lost world, a journey that’s as poignant as it is unforgettable. 22 four-color and 98 duotone images.
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About the Author
Sylvia Plachy's other books include Unguided Tour (Aperture, 1990), for which she won an International Center of Photography Infinity Award; Red Light, a book of documentary work on the sex industry (1996); and Signs and Relics (2000). Plachy has had one-person shows at the Whitney Museum at Philip Morris, the Queens Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts, among other venues in the United States, as well as in Budapest, Ljubljana, Manchester, Berlin, Vancouver, Perpignan, Arles, and Pingyau, China. She has won a Guggenheim fellowship, and publishes regularly in periodicals including the The New Yorker, TIME, Smithsonian, GEO, and The Village Voice.
In this, Plachy's most complex and personal book to date, we are asked to reconsider ideas of self-portraiture and going home again. In 1956, in the wake of the Hungarian Revolution, Plachy and her parents escaped into Austria carrying only a small valise. She returned to Hungary eight years later, this time with a camera in hand. Through the gently subversive images gathered here, her life is revealed via clues, fragments of words, and pictures as if by someone looking into a mirror and seeing her life pass before her eyes-not linearly like a film, but rather in layers.