MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MIAMI BEACH
SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM CRITICAL COMMENTARY
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, NOVEMBER 17, 1991
"They said all kinds of things about Miami Beach, but if people are vulgar and crazy, I like to know about it," Isaac Bashevis Singer writes in his delightful introduction to MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MIAMI BEACH (Simon & Schuster, $30) a book of Richard Nagler's evocative color photographs of elderly Jewish residents of the city's South Beach district. . . [Singer] discourses on God, the Bible and the Yiddish language. Some of Mr. Nagler's photographs display a similar sense of irony and humor. . . This buoyant blend of words and images captures both the idiosyncratic spirit and the deep sadness of these South Beach survivors.
THE WASHINGTON POST, NOVEMBER 17, 1991
[Isaac Bashevis Singer] is immensely alive on the pages of the book which consist of Richard Nagler's photos, along with an introduction and commentary (in the form of Q & A with Nagler) by the Nobel laureate. . . Says Singer, "I see many funny and silly things here because many people desire to appear young and not old." Nagler's photographs, which focus on a small Jewish neighborhood in South Beach, illustrate this exactly. It's a marvelous portrait of a neighborhood with Singer's impassioned commentary - by no means limited to the topic at hand --- a fine bonus.
THE MIAMI HERALD, NOVEMBER 10, 1991
Nagler, a Californian, made repeated trips to Miami Beach over the course of the past 12 years to document a culture that ended up disappearing. The result is a book that is quite profound and extremely moving. His photographs are amazingly intimate. . . depicted with incredible dignity, uplifting and not at all sad. The rest of the text is dialogue, excerpts of the many long conversations between Nagler and Singer. The conversations are part biography, part philosophy and all exploration. It is a text to be read over and over again, wise and touching.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, NOVEMBER 24, 1991
Using Marc Chagall's paintings and Isaac Bashevis Singer's stories for inspiration, Nagler quietly stalked the streets, beaches and swimming pools of South Beach, capturing poignant portraits of its
transplanted culture. . .Nagler unobtrusively enters that town, and his sensitive, painterly photographs capture the vitality of the village life - elderly brothers playing balalaikas in a park, group sing-alongs under Miami's palm trees. His hard emotional work pays off; this collection opens windows on a life that few others have been able to describe.
SAN FRANCISCO WEEKLY, NOVEMBER 20, 1991
Like a fine wine, elder life in Florida is captured by photographer Richard Nagler. She beckons you like some aging goddess of love and desire. If you were 65 you'd die for this deeply tanned, jewelry-bedecked old gal with the yellow-flowered bathing suit. . . This photo and others take you into a foreign world filled with spry, elderly Floridians - a community of transplanted Eastern European Jewish immigrants - as they move through their lives. Richard Nagler's photos prove that a lust for life continues well into the "golden years."
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, NOVEMBER 1, 1991
Forget the Eurotrash sauntering in front of renovated Art Deco establishments on Collins Avenue. This is the Miami Beach of Bubba and Zeta, a place of fractious senior citizens who grow old without apology.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, DECEMBER 3, 1991
The palm trees and bright ocean views provide a vivid and often moving backdrop for Mr. Nagler’s portraits of various old people, who appear dancing, swimming, praying, and in one case, staring at a topless bather with expressions so aghast you can almost hear the pacemakers firing. I. B. Singer, who made his last home here, speaks with Mr. Nagler in the wry, conversational text.
THE PALM BEACH POST, DECEMBER 3, 1991
One of the finest gift books on this year’s list is MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MIAMI BEACH, by the late Isaac Bashevis Singer and photographer Richard Nagler. Nagler’s touching, inviting pictures would have been more than enough to sustain this wonderful book. The addition of an introduction by Singer coupled with a conversation between Singer and Nagler interspersed throughout the book makes this an extraordinary work. Nagler focused his camera on a small Jewish neighborhood in South Beach and the result is a striking study of of this unique neighborhood. Singer’s observations add poignancy and understanding.
FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL, DECEMBER 8, 1991
Teaming with photographer Richard Nagler, Singer has captured the declining fortunes of the enclave of Eastern European Jewish immigrants that once thrived there. The text is filled with characters from the streets of South Beach. They also could be characters from Singer’s fiction. Nagler’s technically adroit and emotionally tender photographs mainly portray the elderly - but these are vigorous old people, not despairing ones.
THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD, DECEMBER 13, 1991
This photo-journal of color pictures by Mr. Nagler and colorful remarks by former Miami Beach resident Isaac Bashevis Singer . . . is a loving toast to a very select element of the sunburnt society of South Beach. . As the photos suggest and Singer spells out, it was more than good orange juice and palmy beaches that made Miami “a magnet for Jewish people.” Mr. Nagler’s pictures evoke the odd paradise of the old world in its exotic new setting. His slightly surreal images capture the familiar faces, songs, foods, jokes as they appeared in Eastern Europe and New York, comfortingly the same, but somehow, in the strange new context, different.
The Secret Soul of an American Downtown
San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 1995
Novelist Ishmael Reed calls Oakland the city that refuses to die, and these richly evocative photographs demonstrate why. . .
San Francisco Examiner, June 11, 1995
The indomitable spirit of Oakland is captured in words and photographs. Its people make this city of extremes virtually indestructible. . .
The Oakland Tribune, May 25, 1995
On the cover, the vibrant golden glow of dusk wraps Oakland’s downtown in majesty, innocence, and romance. But the image that emerges from the pages of the handsome coffeetable art book is not idyllic, but real. . .
The Montclarion, May 23, 1995
Few have seen Oakland as Richard Nagler has. Then again, few have worked as hard. Through Nagler’s lens, urban images become fresh and alive, removed from their daily context and reconfigured to the rhythm of the city. . .
There It is Magazine, Fall 1995
This is It! A true picture of Oakland with its beauty and blemishes exposed
in a brilliant collaboration of prose and pictures . . .
Thomas Frye, Curator of History, The Oakland Museum
For the past twenty years, Richard Nagler has wandered the streets of Oakland recording on film its people, its architecture, its changes. His sensitive photographs capture in split-second images the essence of Oakland. . .
Jerry Brown, Mayor of Oakland
The “there, there” is beautifully photographed and documented for those who love Oakland and for those who wish to learn its secrets.