Edited by Stephen C. Pinson
Eminent Domain features selections from recent photographic projects by five contemporary New York-based photographers: Thomas Holton's The Lams of Ludlow Street, an empathetic account of one family's daily life in Chinatown and a photographer's personal quest to better understand his own heritage; Bettina Johae's borough edges, nyc, a digital project exploring the edges of the city's five boroughs, which the photographer traversed as a way of "remapping" the supposedly well-known city; Reiner Leist's Window, a series of views taken each day over an 11-year period that capture a slice of Manhattan including One Penn Plaza, Madison Square Garden, and, until September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center towers; Zoe Leonard's Analogue, a lyrical documentation of the city's slowly disappearing local character as a result of the city's economic transformation; and Ethan Levitas's Untitled/This is just to say, an exploration of the most apparent, if overlooked, of the city's public spaces, the cars of the New York City subway. Turning on the nature of photography itself (which always complicates the relationship between private and public property), these works intersect and resonate with current concerns about the reorganization of urban space, and its public use, in New York City. As a counterpoint, Glenn Ligon offers the literal narrative of his own housing in the city, as a reminder that behind these (now) public images lie myriad personal and private stories. This volume, a companion to a New York Public Library exhibition, also includes an introduction by the editor, suggestions for further reading, and a list of landmark eminent domain court cases.