Laundromats are often overlooked or dreaded establishments. For many New Yorkers, it's the place where you literally air your dirty laundry to the world after hauling it blocks from your overpriced apartment. If you are one of the few blessed to have your own washing machine and dryer, it is a place you are happy to never enter. Nonetheless, a new book titled Laundromat by the Snorri Bros. gives these establishments some love. The Icelandic expat photography duo, Eiður Snorri and Snorri Sturluson, showcase the laundromats of New York City's five boroughs, drawing attention to the unexpected similarities and nuanced differences of these establishments.
The differences of the five boroughs are only revealed after a close examination of the laundromat windows; they expose themselves in the various advertisements and promotions displayed there. If you simply flip through the pages, you will see a uniform, worn-out, and outdated look of the awnings and storefronts. Like anything that explores only the exterior, the book at times lacks a certain depth that could have been fulfilled with showing the laundromat interiors, but nevertheless, focusing on the the signs and typography reveals a language on its own.
In the afterword, D. Foy calls upon the words of Peter Galassi to appreciate the work of the Snorri Bros. "He thus discovered one of the oldest, simplest, and most rewarding pleasues of photography—the patient delectation of details too small, too incidental or too overwhelming in their inexhaustible specificity to have been noticed, let alone pondered, at the moment of exposure. From the comfort of the armchair we enjoy the illusion of omniscience, a power of analysis and relfection." Foy is right to bring Galassi into the conversation, because with his words Laundromat gains importance.
Laundromat makes for a very unique book to add to your collection. If you want another way to analyze the differences between the laundromats of the boroughs, you can always make a trip to the them in NYC. Just make sure you're paying attention.
Laundromat by the Snorri Bros., published by powerHouse Books/Buy it on Amazon