PHILIP TRAGER



Reviews
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Four of Philip Trager’s books have been selected for the annual books selection of The New York Times Book Review. His books have also been selected as Finalist for the Grand Prix Award of Les Recontres Internationales de la Photographie, Book of the Year of the American Institute of Graphic Artsand as Best Books by Interview, Vanity Fair, The Times(London), and others.
 
“[T]he place-portraiture of Philip Trager’s Palladian villas [is] . . . as beautiful, it seems to me, as any photographs I have ever seen.” Peter Schjeldahl, Introduction to Legacy of Light
 
“[Dancers].invented[ its] own means to capture the spirit of dance in stills. . . . movement is almost secondary to psychological theater. Figures. . . act out the alienation, anguish. . . and occasional exhilaration of much dance on stage today.” Vicki Goldberg, The New York Times Book Review
 
“…startling black and white museum pieces…[Dancers] besieges the eye with its bold sense of mystery, contradiction and surprise. . . . [Trager’s] images, his very aesthetic, linger powerfully in the mind.” Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
“[The Villas of Palladiois] among the most impressive large-format architecture books to be published in many years.” Paul Goldberger, The New York Times Book Review
 
“[T]he personality with which Trager shows each building [in Philip Trager: New York] derives from his own emotional response to it. . . distinctly personal vision.” Art in America
 
“The most handsome pictorial book published so far this year. . . . These photographs [in Photographs of Architecture] are commanding in their clarity and reserve. . . . At the same time, each suggests a novel. I cannot recall a collection of architectural photos. . . so evocative of human lives, dreams, yearnings.” Eliot Fremont-Smith, The Village Voice
 
“…photographs that transform our physical world into moments of clarity and brightness unique to the medium…[Philip Trager] amazingly leaves the reader hungry for more… powerful… an important artistic product…Highly recommended….” Library Journal
 
“[W]e get a sense of his flight, maybe even a stronger sense of it than if we saw it on a stage. . . . a tale of expressionistic conflict or romantic yearning. . . . [T]hese scenes are more theatrical, more fictitious, in Trager’s natural mise-en-scènes than they would be on a stage. . . . These are dancers as we never see them.” Marcia B. Siegel, Dance Ink
 
“[The Villas of Palladio] is a landmark book in architectural photography.” American Photographer
 
“[T]he pictures in this book are stunning.” Times Literary Supplement (London)

“Philip Trager, a deliberately artistic architectural photographer of… exquisite craftsmanship and taste, takes pictures more as the composer than as the performer — his work is quite prominently unified by his Hopper-like sensibility that casts a ghostly quality over all he sees.” Modern Architecture, Photographs by Ezra Stoller, Introduction by William S. Saunders

“…a new way of looking at architecture. He compels us to share his vision through rigor and boldness…[He] leads us into poetry…[t]he photographer becomes the master of time…the art succeeds completely… A veritable treasure for humanity!” Artpassions
 
“One of the most felicitous miracles in God’s world is that artists find the instrument they need…Emily Dickinson tinkers with words. Mikhail Baryshnikov hurls his body into space. And Philip Trager gets to record buildings he sees on the ground glass…Almost every image incorporates a fresh photographic idea…As always with Mr. Trager, every element of the picture seems to be just where it should…”  William B. Meyers, The New York Sun
 
 
Photographs of Architecture 
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  • Annual Holiday Books Selection: The New York Times Book Review
  • A "Book of the Year": American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1977
  • One of the "Twenty-Five Best Books of the Year": Association of the American University Presses, 1977
  • Finalist for the Grand Prix Award at the International Festival of Photography, Arles, France, 1977
"The most handsome pictorial book published so far this year...These photographs are commanding in their clarity and reserve...At the same time, each suggests a novel. I cannot recall a collection of architectural photos--not a single human being is present--so evocative of human lives, dreams, yearnings, hard times, forgetfulness...There are publishing 'events' and then there are real publishing events. The latter--less commercially enticing, no journalistic 'hook', gossip possibilities nonexistent, kinky hype impossible, but reinvigorating by their physical beauty and fidelity, the caring and surprise they show and stimulate--should be celebrated too. All is not ashes yet." Eliot Fremont-Smith, The Village Voice
 
"...a kind of time-defiant attitude...they all appear ageless as if they were the undisputed symbols of a time...Once we have seen it Mr. Trager's way, it would be difficult to reject his prejudices and see it another way." The New York Times
 
"...a handsome book that provides a precisionist view of American architecture...superbly reproduced...this is one of the season's more sumptuous photographic albums." The New York Times Book Review
 
"A truly magnificent volume containing...finely-seen and faultlessly executed images...the book is a rare and perfect match of content, design and craftsmanship. A classic presentation of a gifted photographer's vision and a superb example of the bookmaker's art." Creative Camera
 
"...the pictures in this book are stunning..." The London Times Literary Supplement
 
"As life is sometimes said to imitate art, the architecture here seems built especially for these photographs...images of pure structure...a geometry, sharp, perfect, inevitable..." The Print Collector's Newsletter
 
"A stunning Collection...Trager's photographs are alternately witty and elegant...a way of looking at buildings that is both intensely personal and respectful of architecture's strong associative powers." Library Journal
 
"This is a book of elegant understatement...the photographs never approach a detached documentary style; they are emotional and detailed studies--portraits of architecture...this monograph is important both for the subject matter presented and Trager's unique style." International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House
 
"...masterful collection...penetrating photographs..." American Library Association Booklist 
 
 
Philip Trager: New York
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Annual Holiday Books Selection: The New York Times Book Review
 
 "...classical photographs...the best of his genre..." Le Monde
 
"...a series of striking patterns...romantic, lyrical images...complex interplays of formal patterns...a series of transparent, floating, converging and interpenetrating planes...the personality with which Trager shows each building derives from his own emotional response to it...distinctly personal vision."Art in America
 
"...he lavishes a loving and knowledgeable eye on the nuances of architectural structure...the Guggenheim Museum...caressed by his camera with the devotion of a lover...So great is his passion for the buildings of Manhattan that he even finds something to love in some burned-out, windowless slums."The New York Times Book Review
 
"...successful alchemy is rare, but...not impossible, as is evident in the work of Philip Trager...the skill and imagination to make the city look as he wished  to see it...a sensuous interplay of light, volume and space...buildings...become graceful partners in a decorous sky-high game of tag. This fantastic idea is further enhanced by Trager's soft, silvery print...His is a lovely city to behold, to wish for..." American Photographer
 
"After viewing...Philip Trager: New York, it seems difficult to behold the city without a newly-discovered sense of awe and appreciation...the eye of an artist and the skill of a master technician...elegant and classical...as if we are seeing this unsurpassed architectural feast...for the first time, meticulously produced." Camera 35
 
"...momentous...sense of massive visual intensity solidifies as you move through the pages...Trager, the iconoclast, signs off with a declaration of his personal and photographic individuality." Views
 
"...surprisingly graceful gavotte of buildings in a city that has been planned, it sometimes seems, by a sorcerer...serendipitous beauty..." Saturday Review
 
"...powerful from an aesthetic point of view...transfigured views...timeless..." Printletter
 
"...a keen eye and a sensitive mind...play of light and shadow and the verticals, horizontals and breathtaking curves that give shape to a city...mysterious..."The New York Times
 
"...substantial book...elegant and eloquent...reminiscent of paintings by Edward Hopper...concentrates on form, scale and light, and in so doing captures a special view of Manhattan." The International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House
 
"...striking photographs...unique vision...the reproduction is exquisite..." Light Impressions“His photographs are not mere documents of the city’s important architectural monuments, but emotionally detailed interpretations of Manhattan seen without districts or class consciousness.” Darkroom
 
 
The Villas of Palladio 
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Annual Holiday Books Selection: The New York Times Book Review
  • Annual Best Books Selection: Interview; Reader's Catalogue; Connoisseur
  • Winter Book Selection: Art in America; The Magazine Antiques
  • Book Award, The Maine Photographic Workshop Annual Book Competition, 1986
 "...the place-portraiture of Philip Trager's Palladian villas...as beautiful, it seems to me, as any photographs I have ever seen."Introduction to Legacy of Light
 
"...significant...helps us see Palladio with a fresh and new vision...The text...sings as much as Mr. Trager's photographs...among the most impressive large-format architecture books to be published in many years."  The New York Times Book Review
 
"Philip Trager's black-and-white photographs of Palladio's villas...have been quite properly acclaimed. Their justice to history, sense of place, refinement in perceiving theme and detail are beyond reproach...exhilarating photographs..." House & Garden
 
"On the strength of this book and a very few others, Philip Trager has emerged as our best architectural photographer...Each print makes its subject a work of art..." The Magazine Antiques
 
"... a landmark book in architectural photography." American Photographer
 
"...a remarkable new book...A subtle combination of restraint and passion...Trager's camera...shows us Palladio...as he has never been seen before...This superbly designed book has an invigorating and lucid text by...Vincent Scully..." Connoisseur
 
“[Palladio’s] works have been published and republished through the years—but never quite so lovingly as in this book of black-and-white photographs…[Trager’s] ruminative pictures set each viewer free to find his own Palladio.” The Washington Post
 
"Philip Trager's moody images of the Renaissance architect's northern Italian villas portray these buildings as expressionistic art...Glorious reproduction...The image reigns supreme." Metropolis"...at a moment when we feel comfortable with what has already been written, photographed, and drawn of Palladio's work, we are given a further gift--the extraordinary eye and vision of Philip Trager...Philip Trager has revealed to us a quality in Palladio's work which perhaps none of us has seen before." Michael Graves, from the Introduction
 
"A masterful photographer...he lets us see what the sixteenth-century traveler would have seen; he lets us hear only the voice of Palladio...narrating Palladio's work with penetrating intelligence..." Renato Cevese, from the Forward
 
“…a photographer’s personal vision…quite remarkable…Trager elevates the conventional architectural photograph into an evocative statement.” The Boston Globe
 
 

Dancers
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  • Annual Best Books Selection: Vanity Fair; Newsweek; New York Magazine; The Times (London); British Vogue; Los Angeles Times Book Review; Wall Street Journal
  • Book Award, The Maine Photographic Workshop Annual Book Competition, 1986
“Dancers…invented [its] own means to capture the spirit of dance in stills…movement is almost secondary to psychological theater.  Figures fly through one third of the book; then, oddly static, act out the alienation, anguish, animal fear, dependency, funk and occasional exhilaration of much dance on stage today.” The New York Times Book Review
 
“…we get a sense of his flight, maybe even a stronger sense of it than if we saw it on a stage…a tale of expressionistic conflict or romantic yearning…these scenes are more theatrical, more fictitious, in Trager’s natural mise-en-scènes than they would be on a stage…These are dancers as we never see them.” Dance Ink
 
“…This collection of startling black-and-white museum pieces…besieges the eye with its bold sense of mystery, contradiction and surprise…original and…provocative…His images, his very aesthetic, linger powerfully in the mind.” Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
“Philip Trager’s quietly elegant pictures are…openly theatrical…Dancers deserves special mention. This oversize volume...is lavishly printed, and offers a sensuous treat for the eye…a rich sense of mystery…” The New York Times
 
“Dance fans, photography buffs, art lovers, and fine book collectors will savor Dancers…The considerable talents of architectural photographer Trager…succeed in making ‘dancing look like dancing again, sharp and strange’.” Library Journal
 
“Renowned photographer Trager has contributed one of the more arresting collections in several years…Monochrome has never seemed so eloquent…”San Francisco Examiner
 
“These photographs…celebrate the human form…the combination of energy and stillness generates images of great beauty and excitement.”The Times (London)
 
“If architecture is frozen music, dance must be fluid architecture. So it’s fitting that Philip Trager should have taken the eye that has made him a great architectural photographer and trained it upon the evanescent structures of modern dance.  The results are haunting, and strangely moving.” Owen Edwards
 
 
Persephone
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"Philip Trager (has) significantly expanded the genre (of environmental dance photography)" Danceimages.com
 
 
Changing Paris: A Tour along the Seine
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  • Book Award, The Maine Photographic Workshops Annual Book Competition, 2000
  • Special Mention: Publisher's Weekly
"an exquisite handling of light...virtuoso use of the view camera...the cumulative effect (is) one of harmony and light that is quintessentially French in its rationality...making large format photographs in Paris--venturing into the belly of the beast, as it were--requires a sure hand...nothing less than an exemplary essay on the nature of things French." The Photo Review
 
"If you ever wonder whether photographers have anything new to say about Paris, Philip Trager's recent pictures answer with a resounding 'yes'...Trager proves himself to be among the great photographers of this much-photographed city...these pictures stand out. Beauty and history work hand in hand..."Art on Paper
 
"His perfectly composed, richly printed views of Paris have sober, self-effacing clarity; but they are animated too, by subtly romantic or dreamy feelings..."The New York Times
 
"...your next trip to the capital will be different...fabulous...More than a book, the volume is a lesson in architecture and art history and an opportunity to once again find the art and elegance of your beloved Paris..." France Amerique, International Edition of Figaro
 
"The magic of his camera forces us to reconsider...sites with a new eye. Philip Trager...make(s) a Parisian rediscover his own city." Le Journal Francais
 
"...Beautifully seen and lushly printed love poem to the City of Light...meticulous style and unerring visual taste...include(s) both old and new with remarkable success." washingtonpost.com
 
"The 64 attractive black-and-white plates of high quality reveal the unique beauty of Paris...an outstanding document of Paris..." Library Journal
 
FACES
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“…These are photographic sculptures...haunting…and startling in their theatrical composition.  Each portrait occupies an 11" x 13" page, with the page opposite blank…Such an isolated presentation allows the reader to concentrate on each image as a single work of art….” LibraryJournal.com
 
“I’m haunted by the extraordinary black and white portraits captured by famed photographer Philip Trager in his newest book, “Faces” (Steidl).  Directors of short films would do well to take a look for inspiration…” FoxNews.com/FoxLife
 
“Passion, desperation, ecstasy…“Faces,” is pure emotion, the absolute abandonment to emotion.  Each face is a stage unto itself…The focus is, in an expressionist, silent-film aesthetic, completely focused on the faces.  Faces, which cast a spell.” Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich
 
“…We seldom see up close the faces dancers wear – we are so involved with the body...These images are full of fierce emotion…Trager collaborates with famous dancers around the world…the resulting portraits (are) incredibly powerful.” Black & White Magazine
“Philip Trager’s famed photographs of dancers and architecture form the basis for this…striking study in artifice and sheer personality…wonderfully expressive...great emotion…the reproductions…are first-rate and generously sized…it invites countless return perusals, for there are as many moods contained in these images as there are clouds in the sky...” E-Photo Newsletter #101 (iphotocentral.com)

 
Philip Trager (Retrospective)
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“One of the most felicitous miracles in God’s world is that artists find the instrument they need.  Itzhak Perlman comes to the violin.  Emily Dickinson tinkers with words.  Mikhail Baryshnikov hurls his body into space.  And Philip Trager gets to record buildings he sees on the ground glass of a large-format view camera…Almost every image incorporates a fresh photographic idea… As always with Mr. Trager, every element of the picture seems to be just where it should…” The New York Sun
 
 “(A) comprehensive volume of Philip Trager's peerless black-and-white photography…the photographer's work is achieving an apotheosis of visibility…Trager's open-air depictions of great dancers in motion may be his unique contribution to figural photography…(hist architectural studies) capture(s) a sense of place few other photographers can claim.  Trager's studies...seem on a painterly par with Edward Hopper." E-Photo Newsletter 
 
“Philip Trager is a master of form—capturing three dimensions in two and transforming them so the viewer is transported again into the third dimension. He is a sculptor on paper, using light as his tool… Trager’s images are full of dramatic chiaroscuro...objects of architectural beauty.” Black & White Magazine
 
“Noted for his seemingly antithetical architecture and outdoor dance photography, Trager('s)...artistic efforts today constitute a historic value… amazingly leaves the reader hungry for more…Highly recommended…” Library Journal
 
“This retrospective monograph reveals the genius of a photographer…a compendium of architectural insights.” Architect Magazine
 
“…useful essays, an interview, reference material and more. Handsomely produced and printed, [Philip Trager] will surely become the standard work on Trager…Skyscrapers become vibrant forms in space…we wonder why no one thought of photographing New York this way prior to Trager…his masterpiece project Palladian Villas…made everything new, endowing the structures with a spiritual quality…serious readers…will be aptly rewarded.” Focus Magazine
 
“Objectively speaking, the book is gorgeous: photographs from Connecticut to Italy, with not a few pages of NYC architecture that could leave one reeling. If one is a fan of photography or architecture, I would have to recommend this volume as essential…” Lexiphane.com
 
“(a) large, thorough book…Five brief but dense essays and an interview highlight key points in his artistic philosophy and career… The link between architecture in Connecticut, northern Italy, New York, and Paris and postmodern dance outdoors was form, light, and texture…Recommended.” Choice (American Library Association)
 

NEW YORK IN THE 1970s
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“…an epic vision of New York’s magnificent architecture…undoubtedly will appeal to fans of photography and New York alike…set to reinforce Trager’s reputation as the perfect chronicler of a certain vision of Manhattan, which seems likely to never go out of fashion.” Creative Review

“…highlights the essence of the city that stands the test of time…concentrated attention on the interaction between the city’s buildings and the dynamics of the street…presents Manhattan in a way that’s…luminous and dream-like…a superb historic record….” Real Clear Life

“…dramatic expanses of empty streets and towering skyscrapers that imbue the city with a quiet elegance…[Trager’s] portrayal is of a city…that commands attention with its imposing magnificence and inspires with its grandeur…beautifully printed…a nostalgic photographic revelation of the city as it was, and the magnificence it still possesses.” New York Journal of Books

“Trager’s photographs…present a New York that…is hard to believe ever existed. It’s regal, and quiet…[He] presents perspectives we are not accustomed to seeing…in a grayscale that would make Gotham proud…an accomplished and excellent group of pictures…a superb book….” a Photo Editor

“…full of dynamic compositions, sometimes bordering on the geometric…aesthetically satisfying…Trager’s innate understanding of the visual relationship between buildings has seen his photographs regarded as landmarks themselves in the architectural world.” Black+White Magazine

“…luminous and compelling photographs…present the architecture of Manhattan with time-defiant clarity and beauty…Trager's distinctly personal photographs of buildings are…landmarks in architectural photography.” Art Daily

“[T]he black and white images are poignant souvenirs of the city…[T]his treasure trove of long forgotten photographs capture an unvarnished and captivating portrait of a place.” Huffington Post

Portfolio of photographs and interview: www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30, Hardcopy Edition: October 28, 2016. New York Times

"He shows us...the play of shadow and light...iconic images of the city...[T]his universe of black and white...is an homage to an eternal city." Ideat - Le magazine deco et design du moment


Photographing Ina
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“…an intriguing photographic tribute to [Trager’s] wife, Ina…remarkable…offers portraits that are insightful…charming and dramatic…a rewarding pleasure….” New York Journal of Books 

“[W]hat is most compelling in these portraits…is the seeming ease with which [the subject’s] warmth and intelligence is revealed…powerful, intimate relationship between artist and subject…the photographs are characterized by an undisguised and loving honesty.” Huffington Post

“[I]ntimate, openly theatrical images…embody an enduring love and shared passion for art…These striking and intimate photographs reveal Trager’s sophisticated, complex use of color…The images are as much about the act of photographing, perception, color and light, as they are about his subject, whose presence is a constant and unifying motif.” L'Oeil de la Photographie

“Whether he is capturing New York City skyscrapers, modern dancers or his wife…Trager majestically captures what inspires him.” Washington Life Magazine

"These images are a mixture of intimacy and deliberate theatricality...they are a love song to [Trager's] wife...They embody as much the love that endures as they do the passion of two protagonists for art...the use of color is not for nothing...[I]t adds life to the image and it achieves something that one cannot explain otherwise." Lelitteraire.com