Award-winning documentary photographer Eli Reed’s “long walk” has been a journey that has taken him from a low-income housing project in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to Harvard University and to membership in the elite international photojournalists’ collective, Magnum Photos. Reed’s quest to understand “what it means to be a human being” has given him an extraordinary empathy with the people he photographs, whether they are Lost Boys in Sudan, the poor in America, or actors in Hollywood. In a photographic career spanning five decades, Reed has been the recipient of a World Understanding Award from POYi (Pictures of the Year International), Lucie Award for Achievement in Documentary, World Press Award, Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club Award, and a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, as well as a runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize.
Eli Reed: A Long Walk Home presents the first career retrospective of Reed’s work. Consisting of over 250 images that span the full range of his subjects and his evolution as a photographer, the photographs are a visual summation of the human condition. They include examples of Reed’s early work; a broad selection of images of people from New York to California that constitutes a brilliant collective portrait of the social, cultural, and economic experiences of Americans in our time; images of life and conflict in Africa, the Middle East, Haiti, Central America, England, Spain, South America, and China; portraits of women and Hollywood actors; and self-portraits. Reed’s artist statement and an introduction by Paul Theroux, whom Reed met while working in Africa, complete the volume.
Introduction by Paul Theroux
- On the Verge
- The World
- Beauty, Illusion, and Power
Dedication and Acknowledgments
A Magnum photographer since 1988, Eli Reed is the author of two highly praised books, Black in America, a twenty-year survey of the African American experience, and Beirut: City of Regrets. He is also a member of the Kamoinge photographers’ collective and an honorary member of the Society of Motion Picture Still Photographers, and has photographed and made short documentaries on the sets of over twenty feature films. Reed has lectured and taught at the International Center of Photography, Columbia University, the Smithsonian, New York University, and Harvard University. He currently serves as Clinical Professor of Photojournalism at the University of Texas at Austin.Paul Theroux is the author of over thirty novels and short story collections, as well as numerous works of nonfiction focused on travel, including The Great Railway Bazaar.
“Whether he’s photographing Hollywood actors or armed militia men, Eli Reed’s work can be characterized by a distinct sense of humanity and empathy. His book, A Long Walk Home... is an expansive testament to this quality through more than 250 black-and-white images from several continents and more than five decades covering a wide spectrum of subjects.”
—Jordan G. Teicher, Slate Behold Blog
“Reed, the first African American to join the prestigious photo collective Magnum, has witnessed and experienced the world through it many turns; tender, tumultuous, violent, vigorous, hopeful and helpless. He photographs from a six-foot-five-inches tall, yet his work is never aloof, it is full of compassionate, intimate and grounded moments.”
—Molly Roberts, Smithsonian Magazine
“A splendid selection of Eli Reed’s work . . . from vivid, often disturbing photojournalistic works to introspective, elegant portraits.”
—Mark Lubell, Executive Director of the International Center of Photography, New York City
“Everything about Eli Reed’s work is unlikely, surprising, original, strong, and humane—like the man himself.”
—Paul Theroux, from the introduction
“A Long Walk Home [is] a definitive–that is, big—retrospective of the work of Mr. Reed, a longtime member of Magnum. Working from an original selection of about 1,000 images—face it, his interests are wide and his eye wide-ranging—the book has some 250 photos that chronicle not just the world, but also Mr. Reed’s search for understanding of the human condition.”
—David Gonzalez, the New York Times Lens Blog
The first African American member of Magnum Photos in conversation with UT Press about working as a hospital orderly in New Jersey to taking pictures of history in the making, encountering racial discrimination, and more.
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