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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

My Florence

A 70-Year Love Story

by Art Shay

Book cover for My Florence
Book cover for My FlorenceBook cover for My Florence

My Florence is a collection of striking moments drawn from the shared life of renowned Chicago photojournalist Art Shay and his beloved wife, Florence. By turns casual and glamorous, pensive and humorous, the photographs start the day Art and Florence met in 1942, as 20-year-old camp counselors in the Catskill Mountains, and continue for seven decades.

Book cover for My Florence
Book cover for My FlorenceBook cover for My Florence

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“Florence Shay was a force to be reckoned with, a marvelous, witty, beautiful and well-read lady whose husband Art loved her very much and took some pictures of her that pierce my heart: there she is, glorious Florence. I miss her (and her book shop, too). Art Shay’s photographs bring us into their family, so immediately and warmly that it is a little shocking and quite wonderful.”

“The photographs in Shay’s latest collection portray his late wife’s brimming effervescence in . . . [a] spirit of reverence and love”

“In 'My Florence' we encounter [Florence] pregnant with her first child, and later beaming proudly with their baby daughter Jane in her arms. We see her bringing home their youngest, Steve, greeted by three of their four children at home. . . . [I]t seems that for Art Shay the past really is prologue and continues to be present in the life of this prolific, insightful photographer.”

“The golden age of photojournalism may be long past, but the work of its giants . . . continues to amaze and inspire. Many Chicagoans may not realize that one of those giants, Art Shay, still walks among us. . . . These are . . . poignant images [of Florence] . . . vivacious and flirty in Las Vegas, hard at work at her book shop, in the latter stages of terminal illness.”

Art Shay

After flying fifty-three combat missions in World War II, ART SHAY joined Life magazine as a staff reporter. He went on to become one of America’s leading photojournalists. His pictures regularly appeared in Time, Fortune, the Saturday Evening Post, Forbes, Business Week, Parade, and the New York Times Magazine. Shay immortalized some of America’s most compelling 20th century figures, including John F. Kennedy Jr. and Muhammad Ali, along with street scenes of Chicago’s dispossessed. Several of these photographs have been noted as among the most enduring American pictures ever taken. Shay lives in Chicago.