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Hidden Alcatraz


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About the Author

Steve Fritz is a fine art photographer who has had numerous solo and group shows. Deborah Roundtree is creative director and principal of Roundtree Visuals, an art consulting firm. Her group and solo exhibitions include the London Museum of Science, the Sydney Opera House, and New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


"The Rock is the star of a thousand postcards, yet "Hidden Alcatraz" makes the scene stark and fresh." -- John King San Francisco Chronicle "The next best thing to a tour of Alcatraz could be this startling photographic look at 'the Fortress.'" -- Allen Pierleoni Sacramento Bee "Alcatraz continues to fascinate, and this collection beautifully captures the physical decay that, at last, matches its wretched soul." Library Journal "The project's blend of artistic vision, with contributors both amateur and distinguished, creates a diverse and dynamic perspective." Publishers Weekly "An amazing collection of 100 photographs." -- Phil Semler San Francisco Book Review "This collection presents a comprehensive view of the iconic island and contributes greatly to the visual representation of the myth." -- Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler Photographer's Forum

Although U.S. Penitentiary Alcatraz closed in 1963, the name still conjures Hollywood-fueled images of the ghostly, fog-shrouded island squatting in the wind-swept waters of San Francisco Bay and hardened cons behind barred widows plotting escape. Fine art photographer Fritz and creative director Roundtree present a gallery of roughly 100 frames recorded by 34 photographers over four years. The color and monochrome still-life images offer a photographic autopsy of the prison's rotting remains. Alcatraz is small-during its prime it housed 260 prisoners max-and the pix of cramped, cagelike cells and narrow hallways are studies in claustrophobia. Through the chipped paint, rusting metal, and crumbling cement, the despair, loneliness, and severity of life on "the Rock" remain woefully present. To complement the photos, the book sports an introduction offering a brief history of the island (its initial use as a 19th-century military fort and, later, as a stockade have been nearly forgotten), a foreword by actor Peter Coyote, and an afterword by photographer Thom Sempere. VERDICT Alcatraz continues to fascinate, and this collection beautifully captures its physical decay that at last matches its wretched soul. Recommended for photo and history buffs.-Mike Rogers, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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