Paired to a personal selection of favorite photos from a broad variety of artists, Meyerowitz distils a lifetime’s thought about getting, and appreciating, the shot.
Sandwiched between large eye-shaped windows cut into the front and rear covers, the veteran photographer’s observations are addressed as much to serious picture takers as to picture viewers. Along with noting, for instance, that a Cartier-Bresson image of a man in midair, unsuccessfully trying to leap a puddle, exemplifies the essential principle that “Timing Is Everything,” he points to a funny detail—a circus poster in the background with an acrobat in a similar posture—that could easily go unnoticed. Similarly, among comments about capturing light and color, using reflections and sequences, experimenting with angles and points of view, he offers broadening insights (“Although the photograph is of laundry, it isn’t about laundry”) as well as reasons to take second and even third looks at how seemingly disparate elements fit together. The diversity of both subjects and photographers is impressive; even when he chooses works by well-known artists such as Walker Evans or Gordon Parks, they are likely to be familiar only to longtime students of the medium. Overdesigned text pages (and an uncompelling choice to illustrate “trompe l’oeil”) won’t dim the pleasure of lingering over these big, crisply reproduced pictures…all of which are reminders “that the most banal objects, the most commonplace afternoons, contain unexpected mystery and wonder.”
Truly an eye-opening invitation. (Picture book. 11-15)