Sights Unscene: New York StateBy Brad Libenson (KMN Studios, 2018) Buy It Now
“The state of New York is just simply one wonderful discovery after another,” writes photographer Libenson, who spent a decade prowling the Empire State’s back roads with a duct-taped gazetteer (a geographical guide) and his family in tow, slowing “just enough to smell the knishes.” His brief “forward” includes the only words in this delightful book’s 304 pages, but his images speak for themselves. The county-by-county tour begins in New York’s lesser-known western tip, where Libenson shoots vintage bar signs, red-brick downtowns, and a yellow inflatable deer driving a parade-float convertible. Libenson meanders through the Niagara, Finger Lakes, Leatherstocking, Adirondack, and Capitol regions before hitting the Catskills, Hudson Valley, and that city southeast. Avoiding obvious shots and tourist cliches, Libenson cherry-picks idiosyncratic details. Hudson Valley locals will enjoy spotting familiar sights, like Woodbourne’s Kosher Inn and the twisted wisteria gracing the wall in a Rosendale alley.