In the Vale of Cashmere (Hardcover)

In the Vale of Cashmere By Thomas Roma (By (photographer)), G. Winston James (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Thomas Roma (By (photographer)), G. Winston James (Introduction by)
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In the Vale of Cashmeremarks the culmination of acclaimed photographer Thomas Roma'sfour-year odyssey into a densely wooded, secluded corner of Brooklyn's Prospect Park, where gay cruising dominates the footpaths and trails. The Vale ofCashmere, a name that dates back to the 1890s, has long been a meeting place for gay men. and currently, mostly Black men. However, encounters occur between men of all walks of life, as well as gender and sexual identities.

With his large, tripod-mounted, hand-made camera, Roma stepped into the center of this community, an obvious but mostly ignored presence. Understandably, many of the menRoma approached to photograph in a formal portrait were not interested, butsurprisingly, many were. After they agreed to be photographed, Roma would offer themen time and the opportunity to show him something of themselves they might nothave the chance to otherwise.

Although originally conceived solely as a portrait project, the more time Romaspent in the Vale of Cashmere, the more the physical beauty of the Vale becameinseparable from the portraits, and many landscape photographs were made to beincluded in the book. In addition to the landscapes, Roma utilized a custom modified miniaturecamera to provide sequential pictures depicting the steady march of themostly solitary men as they cruised the paths and roadways of the Vale. These candidphotographs, which run along the bottom of the pages of landscape photographs, arereproduced in small scale so as to make it impossible to identify any individual.

Roma's motivation for doing the project camefrom his wish to honor the memory of a dear friend who died of AIDS in 1991, andwho introduced him to the Vale of Cashmere.

About the Author

Thomas Roma: Twice the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowships and a New York State Council for the Arts Fellowship, Mr. Roma's work has appeared in one-person and group exhibitions internationally, including one-person shows with accompanying books at the Museum of Modern Art NY and the International Center of Photography. He has published 14 monographs to date and has taught photography since 1983, becoming the Director of Photography at Columbia University School of the Arts in 1996 where he is a Professor of Art. His work is in numerous collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and The Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal.

Praise For…

“These brilliant photographs, capturing the dialectic between desire and disappointment, anxiety, and comfort, ultimately remind us of our own continuous rites of passage as human beings. Roma’s photographs are truly saving graces.”-Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of African-American Research at Harvard

As seen in: The New York Times Sunday Review 

"Artistically stunning, pensive and thought-provoking, Thomas Roma's photos are representative of our diversity, of the vast differences that separate us, the enduring struggle uniting our hearts, and the carnal and communal nature of our collective desires." —Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter

"In The Vale of Cashmere does what all good photobooks should do; it reveals a subject and then wraps around it a full and rounded narrative. The work carries a history of New York that predates and parallels the gay rights and civil rights movements. Through its comprehensive and careful description, the book becomes the authoritative portrait of a previously near-invisible subculture. It revels in the unexpected intersections of race, gender, sexuality and class." —Pete Brooks, Medium

Product Details
ISBN: 9781576877159
ISBN-10: 1576877159
Publisher: powerHouse Books
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Pages: 168
Language: English