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The Booksellers Documentary producers Dan Wechsler (Sanctuary Books), D.W. Young, and Judith Mizrachy recently premiered UNCROPPED, which rediscovers the work of James Hamilton, one of the great photographers of the cultural history of America. For over four decades working on staff at publications such as Harper’s Bazaar,

The New York Observer, and most notably, The Village Voice, Hamilton captured remarkable people and stories of the last half-century.

Hamilton chronicled the punk and jazz music scene in 1970s and 80s New York City, creating iconic images of musicians like Charles Mingus, Patti Smith, and Lou Reed and taking intimate portraits of everyone from Akira Kurosawa and Jean-Luc Godard. He eventually broke off to do set photography for George Romero, Noah Baumbach, and Wes Anderson. He pursued controversial assignments across the U.S. and the world, which, at times, reveal its seedy underbelly. He never stopped amassing a stunning visual love letter to New York City in all its grit and glory. Hamilton’s story and vast archive offer a singular window into the heyday of alternative print media.

Taking its name from Hamiton's assertions that publications never cropped his images, Uncropped's filmmakers detail Hamilton's process and his uncanny ability to know the precise moment to unfold a vignette in just two colors. Among the most poignant works are his sympathetic photos of drug-addicted sex workers in pre-gentrified Williamsburg, a young Patti Smith with Tom Verlaine, and mid-laugh portraits of perpetually stone-faced Lou Reed and Alfred Hitchcock.The film takes a brief detour to discuss the changing media landscape as advertisers started to impact news stories and once-regarded newspapers like The Observer devolved into tabloids.

Despite spending most of his time behind the camera, Hamilton as subject is engaging and erudite, with a great knowledge of film and counterculture movements. Thoughtful editing by Young makes the almost two-hour film whiz by. Watch on-demand HERE.

With Wes Anderson, Joe Conason, Michael Daly, Kathy Dobie, Thulani Davis, Richard Goldstein, Alexandra Jacobs, Mark Jacobson, David Lee, Thurston Moore, Sylvia Plachy, Eva Prinz, and Susan Vermazen.

View Trailer.