A Kind of Touching Beauty

Photographs of America by Pedro Meyer, Text by Jean-Paul Sartre

Pedro Meyer and Jean-Paul Sartre

A Kind of Touching Beauty
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Pedro Meyer and Jean-Paul Sartre

Distributed for Seagull Books

Translated by Chris Turner
150 pages | 100 halftones | 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 | © 2012
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780857420077 Published June 2012 World sales rights except India

Photographer Pedro Meyer is one of the pioneers of contemporary photography and was an early leader in its digital revolution. In A Kind of Touching Beauty his lens is focused on the American city, capturing its growth and transition through the 1980s and ’90s. Alongside Meyer’s striking images that distill the spirit of the city, the book presents essays by Jean-Paul Sartre. Originally published as part of The Aftermath of War and based upon Sartre’s extended visit to America in 1945, the essays create a parallel journey with Meyer’s photographs—the same cities are seen at a different time, through a different cultural lens.
Marked by a philosopher’s vision and a writer’s sensitivity, Sartre’s meditations on America are at once poetic and incisive. As he travels the length and breadth of the country, Sartre discovers the soul of American cities, so distinct from the spirit of urban Europe: “Everyone is free here. . . . The cities are open. They are open to the world and to the future. That is what gives them all an air of adventure; and . . . a kind of touching beauty.”
Together, the photographs and essays articulate the enduring essence of American urban existence—its relationship with time, with labor and humanity, and with the open spaces that are emblematic of America.

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