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Winter in New York is rarely pleasant. It's cold and gloomy and mind-numbingly gray, and depending on our mood, we're either mildly offended or pleasantly entertained by billboards from the Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau that taunt: "Hey, nice ear muffs."

Now, torpor is not necessarily discontent. There's also something strangely satisfying about the murky depths of winter here. It's not hope or faith or anything related to the coming of spring. It's more of a survival thing; a certain pleasure in familiar torture.

Many of the submissions Creativity received this past month reflect that dark side we hide three seasons out of four. Luckily, there was always a smirk to accompany the pain.

Granted, there's not much smirking in Radical Eye, a compilation of Miron Zownir's photography (Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, 1998). Some 20 years of Zownir's work is represented in 168 pages -- depicting anarchist punks in 1970's Berlin, New York sex workers in the '80s, and the '90s social and moral decline in Moscow. The images are raw, often obscene, and shocking beyond anything Benetton or Diesel would dare put in their ads (we hope). No one here has been able to flip through Radical Eye and walk away unaffected. Robert Klanten, editor of Radical Eye, describes the collection as, "poignant images that will haunt the reader well after the book is closed. Like Dante, [it] deserves reaction."

Which is also true for much of this month's The Work, even with the usual slickness factor of the ads taken into account. Whether the images are dark, parodic or unabashedly in-your-face, they do more than stand out. They deserve reaction. Which, we have to occasionally remind ourselves, is sort of the point

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