About In the South Bronx of America
Much more than a photography book, Mel Rosenthal's In the South Bronx of America is an autobiography, a social history, a critical text and a handbook for activist photographers. Of course the photographs -- portraits of people who define a place against the odds -- are its backbone. They are funny, moving, resistant.
--Lucy R. Lippard, critic and author of The Lure of the Local
The shame of our cities is here given an identifiable human face, which sometimes even breaks into a smile. Mel Rosenthal, wise enough to question photography's ability to effect change, registers the willful destruction of an entire community. Then he reminds us that kids in the burned-out Bronx still play in the midst of the devastation while adults search for the regular lives that society and government have made virtually impossible. These photographs, well seen and well taken, are both outraged and generous, recording persistent glimmers of the human spirit amid the rubble of injustice.
--Vicki Goldberg, critic and author of
The Power of Photography: How Photography Changed Our Lives
Mel Rosenthal's In the South Bronx of America updates the great Harlem Project of the thirties -- as a photographraphic diary of what the city has done to afflict its poor; of how many of them survive, and how some don't. At once a personal visual account, and with its illuminating texts, an historical survey, this book is a powerful achievement.
--Max Kozloff, photographer and critic, author of Cultivated Impasses
In a way Mel Rosenthal was lucky. He was a member of a generation that thought it was a good, even joyous, political idea to put is brains, energy, labor at the service of the people. So he did.
--Grace Paley, from the Preface
Not since Eudora Welty photographed rural Mississippi in the 1930's has anyone caught so memorably a people and a place as Mel Rosenthal has done in this unforgettable record of the South Bronx.
--William Jay Smith, former poet laureate
of the United States, and author of The Cherokee Lottery