FINE ARTS

Blind Spot

Random. Jun. 2017. 352p. photos. maps. index. ISBN 9780399591075. $40. PHOTOG
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OrangeReviewStarReaders may be most familiar with Cole as a novelist and essayist (Every Day Is for the Thief; Known and Strange Things), but he is also an accomplished photographer and critic, contributing to the "On Photography" column for the New York Times Magazine. Many photographers have experimented with combining text and image, but this title brings them together in ways unusually sophisticated, expanding the possibilities of the photo caption. A travelog of sorts, this book presents images taken during the artist's journeys around the world. Cole's pictures, however, lack the superficial gloss associated with much travel photography—many are, in fact, rather banal takes of hotel rooms or unremarkable streets. The outwardly nondescript images serve as triggers for the photographer's thoughts and feelings about place, as he investigates what one can make visible through the medium, and how photos might express facts beyond the obvious surface. These image/text combinations merge interior monolog with an outward-looking gaze.
VERDICT Highly recommended as a project expanding our sense of what it means to create and look at photographs.

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