“A powerful tribute to 2020 – the year we never saw, but will never forget.” – Maya Lin, Architect and Sculptor
2020 was an unexpected year, to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic stifled our re-entrance to the Roaring ‘20s. As hospitals filled up, other public places were deserted. The travel industry was snuffed overnight as humans were brought to a standstill.
With their fine art backgrounds, Julie and Jeffrey Loria were inspired to capture what the world was like when everything stopped. Through their network of professional photographers, they curated images of metropolises that looked like ghost towns during quarantine.
The result is a stunning collection of photos depicting the deserted, austere landmarks in fifteen cities globally at the peak of the pandemic. The pictures display the range of emotion we all felt at some point during our months inside. The collection includes photographs of caskets being carried to a Rio cemetery, an eerie and empty Times Square and Rodeo Drive, and a t-shirt display honoring the colors of the Italian flag in Rome. The images show beacons of hope and depictions of the physical and psychological impact of the coronavirus.
The book, set to be released on November 23, 2021, has received advanced praise from architect and sculptor Maya Lin, architect Robert A.M. Stern, Musée Picasso director Paris Laurent Le Bon, architecture critic Paul Goldberger, and photographer Andreas Gursky.
Lin states that “Silent Cities captures that haunting shared moment in our collective history,” and the collection encapsulates the different (yet familiar) stories of communities around the world.
When you first see the pictures in the book, your initial thought is that the images must be photoshopped. There’s no other explanation for the lack of people. If we hadn’t lived through it, we might not believe it.
The book presents a visual narrative of a time that will seem extraordinary to future generations (starting with all of those pandemic babies when they grow up). For those of us who scrolled through the news every day to find a hopeful update, it provides a way to reflect on the global emptiness felt during the pandemic and find solace in the shared experience.
But at the same time, the book is not overly gloomy. The gorgeous landmarks captured in the photographs show a still beauty alongside the yearning we feel. Our collective yearning fosters hope that we will bounce back from the pandemic.
And we’re definitely starting to bounce back, although we’re not quite there yet. The book still serves as a sort of scrapbook of what we experienced when we couldn’t experience anything. As Stern states, “Silent Cities is an arresting photographic compendium of some of the world’s great public places at pause, as if they were theatrical stage sets waiting for the drama of daily life to begin again.”
Gursky notes that the book is “a conceptual compilation of impressive places that seem to come from our collective memory, as each of us knows them. But something crucial is different in the usual places… Completely emptied, these images speak to us and question the testimonies of human civilization and culture in an unforgettable manner.”
Jeffrey Loria is internationally recognized for his work as an art dealer and specializes in 19th and 20th Century Masterworks. Loria has also published other works, including Collecting Original Art in 1965 and Collector’s Choice: New Acquisitions in 1966. Aside from Silent Cities, his most recent project is “From the Front Row,” a book reflecting on his dual careers as an art dealer and the owner of the Miami Marlins pro baseball team.
Jeffrey Loria is a graduate of Yale and Columbia University, and he was honored by the French government with the Order of Arts and Letters for his commitment to promoting the French culture in America. Loria is also a dedicated philanthropist who has supported universities, schools, hospitals, museums, and other charities throughout his life.
Julie Lavin Loria, married to Jeffrey Loria, is an art dealer in her own right, specializing in contemporary works. She’s also the author of two cookbooks. After completing her undergraduate courses at Mount Holyoke College, Julie worked as a marketing executive before transitioning to a career as an art dealer. She moved to Paris to receive a Diploma in Fine and Decorative Arts at the Royal Society of Arts.
While abroad, Julie delved into her love for food at La Cuisine de Marie-Blanche culinary school in Paris. Before Silent Cities, she published The Game of Eating Smart, a book that features interviews between Julie and Major League Baseball players discussing the pros’ approaches to healthy eating. Julie is also on the advisory board of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.
Silent Cities is a must-have book for anyone who loves travel. With its release in late November, it makes the perfect holiday present for the Jetsetters in your life. You can preorder the collection on Amazon now.
As world travelers ourselves, we can’t wait to get our hands on the book and share it with our friends. It’s a beautiful way to appreciate various wonders of the world without the hustle and bustle of travelers trying to take selfies. It helps us feel grateful when we have the opportunity to travel internationally (or domestically) again.
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