Images in local duo’s upcoming book capture a long and storied past

Stephen Blauweiss and Karen Berelowitz. (Photo by Jim Rice)

Kingston’s Stephen Blauweiss correctly describes himself as an independent filmmaker, a historian, a graphic designer and an author. In the 23 years since he arrived from New York City in the Hudson Valley, he’s become all these things – and more. He’s quickly becoming a local version of Ken Burns, a filmmaker renowned for his style of using archival footage and photographs in documentary films.

Now Blauweiss is focused on his most ambitious project yet, a 450-page, 850-image hard-cover coffee-table book titled “The Story of Historic Kingston: A Journey Through the Hudson Valley and Its Connection to New York City,” co-authored with his partner, Karen Berelowitz.

This hefty book will sell for $65 at bookstores in December. By arrangement with the authors, excerpts from it, the first of which is about the Catskills mountain houses, will appear on the page opposite this one  ome page [g yin this issue of Hudson Valley One. Further episodes will be published weekly until the book’s publication.

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This book is not investigative journalism. Its considerable power stems mainly from its images, which convey memories and feelings that would otherwise require a thousand words to express – and with that not do as good a job at it.    

Most working historians in the Hudson Valley are either academics or employees of state government. Blauweiss is neither. While scrambling to make a living, he has carved a distinctive niche for himself, specializing in regional cultural film products. He has done about a hundred film profiles of local artists. He has produced some longer work, including subjects as varied as “The Life & Death of the Kingston Post Office,” urban renewal (“Lost Rondout”), and “Woodstock: 100 Years of Counterculture in Art and Music.” He also filmed and directed a short film about local Black culture by Michael Montestorial entitled “Father Divine, What’s in a Name?”

Blauweiss and Berelowitz have no institutional publications budget to cover the $40,000 printing cost of their new book. They say they’d appreciate contributions.

For more information, please see: HudsonValleyHistoryAndArt.com.