Invisible City

Pasadena: Twelvetrees Press. 1988.

Schles's own inscribed copy. First edition. Limited to 2000 copies. Unpaginated. 233x176mm. Midnight blue cloth, blind stamped to upper cover and spine. Dust jacket is a photocopy as explained in the inscription by Ken Schles on the title page. The inscription reads: "For years I held this copy and showed it until the dust jacket disintegrated - I'm sorry - I had to put this xerox copy on the cover but it's a good book, no? This [the photograph on the title page] is in my apartment on Mott many years ago. LA 2009". In addition to the inscription, Schles has signed the title page "K.S." Tiny closed tear to the top edge of the upper cover of the dustjacket but otherwise in fine condition throughout. The photographs are printed in five inks using a special screen to reproduce the look of the original photogravure. Three pages of "Notes" which are excerpts from Lewis Mumford, Borges, Kafka, Orwell and Baudrillard. These texts are on the theme of urban decay and alienation and echo the bleakness of Schles's powerful images of the "naked netherworld" of a New York in decline, a city of gang war, underworlds, damaged people and burnt out buildings. Schles himself describes Invisible City as a dark book and it was immediately recognised as an important work (it was a New York Times "notable book of the year"): it retains its central place among the great photobooks charting the wildness and despair of urban life.

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