For a decade, Ken Schles watched the passing of time from his Lower East Side neighbourhood. His camera fixed the instances of his observations, and these moments became the foundation of his invisible city. Friends and architecture come under the scrutiny of his lens and, when sorted and viewed in the pages of this book, a remarkable achievement of personal vision emerges.
Twenty-five years later, Invisible City still has the ability to transfix the viewer. A penetrating and intimate portrayal of a world few had entrance to – or means of egress from –, Invisible City stands alongside Brassai’s Paris de Nuit and van der Elsken’s Love On The Left Bank as one of the 20th century’s great depictions of nocturnal bohemian experience.
Documenting his life in New York City’s East Village during its heyday in the tumultuous 1980s, Schles captured its look and attitude in delirious and dark verité. Long out of print, this “missing link” in the history of the photographic book is now once again made available. Using scans from the original negatives and Steidl’s five plate technique to bring out nuance and detail never seen before in print, this masterful edition transcends the original, bringing this underground cult classic into the 21st century for a new generation to discover.
Ken Schles was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960 and has been making photographic books for over a quarter of a century. He studied photography at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art with William Gedney and was a student of the legendary Lisette Model.