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D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2014

ISBN 9783869306919 TRADE
List Price: $40.00 CDN $54.00

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Ken Schles: Invisible City

Text by Lewis Mumford, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Jean Baudrillard.

Ken Schles: Invisible City

"An essential companion to the new, long-awaited reprint of Schles' gritty 1988 classic Invisible City.” –Mark Murrmann, Mother Jones

For a decade, Ken Schles watched the passing of time from his Lower East Side neighborhood. His camera fixed the instances of his observations, and these moments became the foundation of his "invisible city." Friends and architecture come under the scrutiny of his lens and, when sorted and viewed in the pages of this book, a remarkable achievement of personal vision emerges. Twenty-five years later, Invisible City still has the ability to transfix the viewer. A penetrating and intimate portrayal of a world few had entrance to--or means of egress from--Invisible City stands alongside Brassai's Paris de Nuit and van der Elsken's Love On The Left Bank as one of the twentieth century's great depictions of nocturnal bohemian experience. Documenting his life in New York City's East Village during its heyday in the tumultuous 1980s, Schles captured its look and attitude in delirious and dark honesty. Long out of print, this "missing link" in the history of the photographic book is now once again made available. Using scans from the original negatives and Steidl's five-plate technique to bring out nuance and detail never seen before, this new edition transcends the original of this underground cult classic.

Featured image, "Boy On East 5th Street, 4th of July" (1984), is reproduced from the 2014 Steidl edition of Ken Schles: Invisible City. Below is the book trailer.


Mother Jones

Mark Murrmann

Night Walk is an essential companion to the new, long-awaited reprint of Schles' gritty 1988 classic Invisible City. A document of life on Manhattan's Lower East Side as it went through the death throes of being a dirty, lawless pocket of the city, Invisible City and Night Walk evokes a sense of danger and fun in roaming through this veritable no man's land. The grainy black-and-white photos make you feel like you're falling through a dream.

Photo Book Magazine

Miwa Susuda

Ken Schles’ strong renderings of ’80s New York photography appear to be cinematic – and can be compared to Martin Scorsese’s early films such as Who’s That Knocking at My Door, Mean Streets, and Taxi Driver. Schles’ newly reissued Invisible City straightforwardly captured the ecstasy and despair which his beloved city screamed of.

New York Observer

Chris Pomorski

Also at the Times, a selection of photos from Ken Schles, who spent the mid 1980s living in an abandoned building in the East Village, documenting the neighborhood’s goings on with his camera. The work, which resulted in two books, 1988’s Invisible City and 2014’s Nightwalk, expresses both “darkness” and “excitement,” depending on your perspective.

Cuatro Cuerpos


Ken Schles’ Invisible City is an extraordinary production, printed in five inks using a special screen to mimic as closely as possible the original photogravure. An important book made available again for a new generation of photographers (and for those of us who were a bit distracted at the time).

Los Angeles Review of Books

Michael Kurcfeld

What emerged was a bounty of startling black-and-white images, both bleak and ravishing, that were so starkly truthful about that time and place that their publication as Invisible City in 1988 would become a landmark cult title, unavailable for over two decades. Originally published by legendary Twelvetrees Press in Pasadena, the book was printed on a photogravure press, now virtually extinct. If ever there were a book that could not be anything other than black and white, this was it. The riveting tonalities are the reality of Schles’s naked netherworld. His camera managed to memorialize a now-mythic era of New York history that for him at the time was merely “the reality out my front door.”


David Rosenberg

“I was looking at this idea of what does the image mean, not only photographic images but also images we hold within ourselves about he world we have around us,” he said. “I felt my world was falling apart. I started thinking what I consider my world is and it's really a series of images: as a father, as an American, as a New Yorker, these things they’re all images.”

Those thoughts were also present when Schles was initially working on Invisible City, looking for a way to document his experience in New York that differed from those of both his father, a New York native, and also countless other artists who had created work that reflected their own experiences living there.


Jörg M Colberg

Photographically, both book provide copious amounts of photographic references. In City, for example, there is a photograph of a kid pointing a gun at you, clearly echoing William Klein’s New York book. With their bleak and harsh black-and-white treatments, occasionally using considerable blur, the books also echo Japanese photography from around the Provoke era. Of course, many of these references have since been picked up by a younger generation of artists.

The Brooklyn Rail

Adam Bell

Invisible City has a reputation as a dark book, but that reputation seems undeserved, especially when paired with the new book. Instead, one is struck with moments of perseverance and levity, of people celebrating, drinking, or making love, despite their circumstances or living condition. The darkness hovers along the edges and occasionally creeps in, but is largely kept at bay.

A Photo Editor

Jonathan Blaustein

Pictures like this speak to the gut. They isolate time from itself. Bottom Line: A re-issued classic, straight outta the NYC 80’s.

A Photo Editor

Jonathan Blaustein

Pictures like this speak to the gut. They isolate time from itself. Bottom Line: A re-issued classic, straight outta the NYC 80’s.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Freddie Langer

So intimate and direct, that it sometimes pains the eyes. They are marked by a lust for life out of control.

Ken Schles: Invisible City

STATUS: Out of stock

Temporarily out of stock pending additional inventory.



Rizzoli Presents Philip Trager and Ken Schles on NYC Photography

Rizzoli Presents Philip Trager and Ken Schles on NYC Photography

Tuesday, March 28 from 6-8PM, Rizzoli, Steidl & ARTBOOK | D.A.P. invite you to a discussion about New York photography with Philip Trager and Ken Schles, moderated by Dan Nadel. Following the conversation, Trager will sign New York in the 1970s and Schles will sign Invisible City.
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Ken Schles Book Signing at Dashwood

Ken Schles Book Signing at Dashwood

Dashwood Books launches two exquisite new releases by New York photographer Ken Schles, published simultaneously by Steidl. Invisible City is the much anticipated reprint of Schles' modern classic, first published by Twelvetree Press in 1988. Night Walk is a substantive and intimate chronicle of New York's last pre-Internet bohemian outpost, a stream of consciousness portrayal that peels back layers of petulance and squalor to find the frisson and striving of a life lived amongst the rubble.
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Ken Schles: Invisible City



ISBN: 9783869306919
USD $40.00
| CAN $54

Pub Date: 2/24/2015
Active | Out of stock

Ken Schles: Night Walk



ISBN: 9783869306926
USD $45.00
| CAN $60

Pub Date: 2/24/2015
Active | Out of stock