Tom de Peyret, 1 New York Times Plaza, NY 11356

JTF (just the facts): Published in 2024 by Poursuite Editions (here). Softcover, 21 x 29 cm, 144 pages, with 107 black-and-white and color reproductions. Includes an essay by Clément Ghys (in French and English). Design by Thomas Hervé.  (Cover and spread shots below.)

Comments/Context: A couple of years ago, the French photographer Tom de Peyret got access to the printing plant of The New York Times in College Point, Queens. The plant is a 515,000-square-foot building in Queens, on the Van Wyck Expressway, half a mile from LaGuardia Airport. The photographs were turned into a photobook. Its title, 1 New York Times Plaza, NY 11356, references the address of the plant, and the book offers Peyret’s vision of the iconic facilities, and ultimately, of New York City.

As a photobook, 1 New York Times Plaza, NY 11356 is simple, yet exciting. A close up photograph of the Unisphere, the 140-foot-tall globe commissioned for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, which demonstrated the United States’ global power, envelops the cover. Inside, the photographs are printed full bleed, with a couple of exceptions, most of them in black-and-white. They are printed with rich silver ink, also referencing the nature of the facility they document. An essay by Clément Ghys is placed on the end papers, beautifully printed in silver ink against a black background. There are no page numbers, captions, or other design elements.

To build his visual narrative, Peyret combines photographs of the printing facilities with shots of NYC, many of them from around the neighborhood in Queens. He takes us to places that seem inaccessible and abandoned, and doesn’t seem focused on documenting the actual process of printing a newspaper. Rather his photographs of the plant center on its steel construction, the cylinders, stairs, and wheels, the giant paper rolls, the stacks of newspapers moving on the belt line, and other mechanical elements. Many of the photographs appear superimposed or double printed, emphasizing the density of the place. In page after page, we are presented with the machinery of the place, and the absence of people who run the factory reinforces that feeling. 

De Peyret’s photographs of New York capture its steel bridges and their details, highways, and lifeless looking housing projects. In one spread, the inside of the printing plant appears next to an image of Brutalist buildings taking up most of the frame. In another, a shot of busy 42nd street, with cars moving in both directions, is placed next to a shot from the plant showing a messy corner with newspapers on the floor. These pairings make suggestive parallels between the city and the printing plant, presenting both as machines.   

A number of color photographs are sprinkled throughout the photobook, breaking up the visual flow. One spread pairs a busy black and white image of steel with a color shot, also from the inside the plant, showing a blueish door with the US flag, a fan, and two yellow horizontal steel panels. One of the last images in the book captures the side of the building from the parking lot, with the New York Times logo printed over it in giant gothic letters. It is followed by the last shot, taken from inside a car, as de Peyret makes his way, we guess, back to the main island.

De Peyret’s book brings to mind Stephan Keppel’s Flat Finish, another photobook that takes us to the streets of New York City, observing its unexpected surfaces and textures (reviewed here). Just like Keppel’s work, 1 New York Times Plaza, NY 11356 is far from a conventional representation of New York. It is an unpretentious and subtly elegant publication, enlivened by thoughtful design and printing, offering an unexpected way to examine a largely unseen layer of NYC life. 

Collector’s POV: Tom de Peyret does not appear to have consistent gallery representation at this time. As a result, interested collectors should likely follow up directly with the artist via his website (linked in the sidebar).

Send this article to a friend

Read more about: Tom de Peyret, Poursuite Editions

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Articles

Mark Steinmetz, ATL

Mark Steinmetz, ATL

JTF (just the facts): Published in 2024 by Nazraeli Press (here). Cloth hardback with tipped in cover photograph, 10.5 x 12 inches, 80 pages, with 63 duotone photographs. Includes an ... Read on.

Sign up for our weekly email newsletter