On the Roof: New York in Quarantine

Thames & Hudson. Nov. 2021. 144p. ISBN 9780500024911. $24.95. PHOTOG
When quarantine was imposed on his hometown in March 2020, Katz, a New York City–based photographer of urban street life, climbed up to his rooftop, escaping the isolation of his apartment. The height afforded Katz the perfect vantage to observe the emerging socially distanced “rooftop culture” of those weeks and months. Katz photographed neighbors sunbathing, reading, playing music, dining, dancing, keeping pigeons, celebrating birthdays, even skateboarding. This title gathers more than 100 images taken during this time. Katz’s lively, insightful diaristic essays discuss topics personal and professional (the complexities of dating in quarantine, meeting neighbors across roofs, the ethics of this unusual approach to photography, and more). A lovely foreword by novelist Rumaan Alam (Leave the World Behind) considers city life as collective endeavor and as a joyful claiming of space.
VERDICT A unique view of a city coping with the reality of COVID-19.
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