Frank Van Riper’s award-winning career in journalism began in 1967 at the Daily News in New York where for 20 years he served as White House correspondent, national political correspondent and ultimately Washington Bureau news editor. But he also has been a photographer for as long as he has been a writer and now, with the publication of his sixth book, he offers a documentary-cum-memoir about two of the world’s great cities: New York and Paris.
Recovered Memory: New York and Paris 1960-1980 (Daylight Books, October 2018) is a meditation on time and place: before the internet and 24/7 news; when one could visit the Eiffel Tower without seeing police and automatic weapons, when a ride on the New York subway cost 15 cents, when the smell of fresh-baked baguettes wafted over nearly every Parisian neighborhood, and when the Coney Island parachute ride still thrilled thousands. Van Riper’s striking black and white photographs spanning twenty years, coupled with his eloquent texts, capture the 20th-century romance and grit of New York more than a half century ago, and Paris, some forty years ago. It was a time when the pace of life was slower and somehow less threatening, people talked to each other instead of texting on their iPhones, and you literally had to stop and smell the coffee.
In his entertaining and informative color commentary throughout the book, Van Riper remembers in rich detail, and often with a dose of humor, his favorite things and places in New York (i.e., McSorley’s Ale House, the Automat, Nathan’s Hot Dogs) and Paris (i.e., Musée Rodin, the cheese course, French cafés), and memorable moments interacting with each city’s colorful denizens. He also ruminates about how much has changed since he made these two bodies of work due to rampant globalization and the birth of the Internet.
“The only constant in life is change. Everything will be different sooner or later, so that photos made years ago have intrinsic value simply because they reflect a time and conditions that are gone forever. Granted, this means that even a mediocre snapshot has merit for the insight it provides into the past. But on those very rare occasions when you find an image that twins historical relevance with grace, or even at times beauty, one only can be grateful.”
Bestselling author Martin Walker draws on his own experiences of New York and Paris in his poetic foreword: “… It may be because I fell in love with these two cities as an adolescent that I find Frank’s photos so powerful, not just as triggers of memory and nostalgia of place, but of the tastes and smells and feels of another time. And the cities felt in some profound way to be siblings. Paris was the big sister, the capital of Them; New York was precocious kid brother just come into his full size, the capital of Now. One reeked of history; the other of the immediate and tumultuous present. Paris was tamed. New York still wild. [W]e can more than get by just diving into Frank’s keen-eyed and touching tribute to the real twin cities.”
Saturday, November 10 at 1pm – Talk & Book Signing – Politics and Prose Bookstore (5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20080) – https://www.politics-prose.com
Saturday, November 17 at 5pm – Talk & Book Signing – Albertine Bookstore (972 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10075) – https://www.albertine.com
Friday, December 14 – Artist Reception, Book Signing, and Exhibition of Photographs – Photoworks Gallery (7300 MacArthur Blvd Glen Echo, MD 20812) – http://glenechophotoworks.org
Hardcover: 135 pages
10 x 8 inches
October 24, 2018 to November 24, 2018