Author Trevor Crafts’ companion book to the HBO Documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is a showcase for David Attie’s beautiful behind-the-scenes photographs.
The Unseen Photos of Street Gang: How we Got to Sesame Street is not your average coffee table book. Yes, it’s beautiful with amazing productions of the photographic work of on-set photographer Attie but more than that it is a true companion compendium to Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street. Crafts creates a book that mirrors and supplements the documentary.
The book is spread over 176 pages and 5 chapters not including a preface, introduction, and afterword. Each section begins with written material created by Crafts that consists of narrative information and interviews with the various actors, muppeteers, and behind-the-scenes crew that made up Sesame Street. The information given in these sections enriches the documentary with elaboration of points made in the film and discussion of different topics not discussed or reached upon in the book. Facts like adjusted for inflation the first season of Sesame Street would cost $750 million! Or the wild origins of exactly how David Attie was hired to photograph Sesame Street for its first year. Or Oscar the Grouch’s original hair color the first season and the color Jim Henson wanted to use originally (but TV technology couldn’t register it).
The real star here is Attie’s wonderful photography. Crafts’ writing gives us context for the photographs and why they were chosen. The result is something that isn’t just beautiful but once one reads, the images become more profound giving us glimpses into the work that went into the first year. Attie’s work as Crafts’ notes (and Attie’s son Eli mentions in his preface) can be experimental in places, especially his color photography, but only adds to the beauty and mystery of the work.
For anyone that loved the documentary or is a Sesame Street/Muppet enthusiast The Unseen Photos of Street Gang: How we Got to Sesame Street is an instant pick-up or recommendation. Author Crafts and Abrams Books have produced a wonderful book that will delight all that purchase.