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All the Usual Subjects: Book Review

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

Keywords: black_and_white

While living in Willimantic, Connecticut for seven years, fellow Nikonian Peter J. Crowley, our Guest Columnist at The Nikonians Café, documented daily life in this old mill town through a series of black and white photographs. The resulting book is titled All the Usual Subjects: Seven Years of Willimantic Photographs. A series of memorable scenes and portraits of local characters and friends come through the pages.

All the Usual Subjects - front cover

Front cover

The Usual Subjects, unpretentious, go about their daily chores, just being the anonymous heroes of everyday life in non-suburban America. Building each one the single block of a hard day’s work, one day at a time. Blocks that accumulate to make the edifice of society. That, by itself, would have been a notable pictorial statement, but there is more.


Through the pages, the subjects reveal an uncommon degree of rapport with the photographer, so each one talks about him without talking, through their natural poise, completely at ease, with an always friendly look in the eyes and a smile for punchline. They know each other, the feeling is pleasant, and they consistently transmit that powerful feeling to the viewer. And so the subjects make their own statement about the unusual photographer.

All the Usual Subjects - back cover

Back cover

The photographer, in return, applies his art of seeing to capture and reveal to us not just the strong character of each one of these now un-Usual Subjects -made unusual by that bond- but also their common surroundings, made interesting and beautiful because of the subjects, the friendship and Peter’s art.

A class in composition, exposure and the art of seeing, the book ends too soon, leaving us wanting for more.

All pictures on this review are Copyright © of Peter J. Crowley and may not be copied or reproduced.


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Originally written on May 30, 2010

Last updated on June 6, 2014

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

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