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Frogtown: Photographs and Conversations in an Urban Neighborhood

$ 24.95

Frogtown is a penetrating look at an ethnically mixed neighborhood that lies within the shadow of the Minnesota State Capitol. Wing Young Huie combines 130 compelling black-and-white photographs and 50 quotes from conversations with residents with his own commentary to produce a composite portrait of life on Frogtown's streets and front porches, in its kitchens and backyards, stores and churches. Some 400 people are pictured.

The images are documentary in nature, but the perspective is that of an artist who leaves meanings open to interpretation. Drawn to Frogtown by a broad and abiding curiosity, Wing spent two years photographing and getting to know its people. He showed 175 pictures in a monthlong outdoor exhibition that was mounted in a vacant Frogtown lot in 1995. That exhibition was the basis for this book.

One of St. Paul's oldest neighborhoods, Frogtown was settled in the late 19th century by German, Polish, Irish, Scandinavian, and French immigrants. Populated mainly by white working-class people until the 1970s, it is today more than half made up of Southeast Asians, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics. As in many inner-city districts nationwide, incomes there are low and the crime rate is high. Local news stories focus on the area's struggles with drugs, prostitution, and violence-and keep its people themselves largely invisible.

Wing approaches Frogtowners as individuals, frankly yet compassionately. His photographs reflect his sense of kinship with them and transmit that sense directly to the viewer. Anyone interested in contemporary photography, or concerned with the changing face of American cities, will connect with these vibrant beautifully reproduced images of Frogtown.

 

  • By: Wing Young Huie
  • Format: 160 pp., 130 duotone photographs
  • Publisher: MNHS Press
  • Product ##: 9780873513364

 

 

WING YOUNG HUIE is an award-winning St. Paul photographer whose pictures have appeared in more than a dozen exhibitions in the Twin Cities and nationally. His work is included in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

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