For 25 years, Tom Wood lived in New Brighton, just across the river Mersey from Liverpool. He became known locally as "photieman" because everyday he was out on the streets with his camera. Most of the pictures collected in this book were taken within a five-minute walk from Wood's home. The work focuses on the inhabitants of the town and its regular visitors, from Liverpool daytrippers to clubbers who attended the Chelsea Reach nightspot. Roberta Smith from The New York Times writes that "Each of his images seems to diagram a specific emotional exchange [and] are surprisingly individual in their composition and nuance. Neither ironic nor intrusive, they provide a poignant sense of the carefully disguised insecurity and age old rituals of youth." Wood presents over 170 dazzling color and tritone photographs of cocky youths, friends, lovers, fathers, mothers and babies that provide insight into the area, its inhabitants and the rites of passage inherent in growing up.
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Tom Wood's Photie Man (Stiedl) is a mid-career collection that should help spread the word on this terrific British photographer. Working primarily on the street and in pubs and clubs, Wood photographed the public face of New Brighton, England, across the river from Liverpool, from the late 1970's until he moved away in 2003. Wood achieves an intimacy with his subject that's at once rude and tender. July/August 2005
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