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Hard Ground


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Hard Ground unites Michael O'Brien's compelling photographs and Tom Waits's powerful poetry to reveal our common humanity with the men, women, and children who survive on the street.

About the Author

TOM WAITS is critically recognized as one of America's most influential and significant songwriters. In a career that has spanned four decades, he has delved into the worlds of recording, literature, and live performance, as well as theater and film as both actor and composer. His songs chronicle the lives of both the misbegotten and the entitled while wrestling with life's big themes: love, loss, war, grace, madness, God, corruption and beauty. Waits has won two Grammy Awards and an Oscar nomination.


"...this is a powerful book..." Guardian 10 June 2011 "Other collections of lost souls (Richard Avedon's In the American West comes to mind) are different... We meet O'Brien's people one on one. Their 'otherness' is removed. The photographs engender compassion and empathy. If that sounds simple, it is because it is simple. And, as you know, being simple is very, very difficult. Hard Ground is a rare and powerful book." JOHN LOENGARD Life magazine photographer and picture editor, and one of American Photo magazine's "100 most influential people in photography" "If I can think of a book to relate to this one, it would be James Agee and Walker Evans's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. That book was photographed in 1936--during the Great Depression--and published in 1941. It had an enormous influence--and still does--on the way photography and writing can work together as a catalyst for social change... I think Hard Ground has this potential." MARY ELLEN MARK internationally renowned photographer and author of sixteen books, including Seen Behind the Scene, Exposure, and Twins

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