Ghosts of Freedom
W. W. Norton
On Sale: October 16, 2006
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For five years (1998-2003) New York photographer Stephen
Wilkes explored the hospital complex that comprised the
south side of Ellis Island. Neglected for almost fifty
years, the buildings were in a state of extreme disrepair:
lead paint peeled from the ceilings and walls, vines and
trees grew through the floorboards, detritus and debris
littered the hallways. In rooms long-abandoned, Wilkes
captured a spirited new vision of this gateway to freedom.
Twelve million people passed through Ellis Island.
Approximately one percent were turned away for health
reasons. Wilkes's powerful images of the underbelly of the
island—a purgatory between freedom and captivity—ask us to
reflect on the defining experiences of millions. With that
rare combination of an eye that sees far beyond the lens
with the technical acumen of a master draftsman, Wilkes
takes us on an unforgettable journey through our collective
past. 77 color photographs.
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