Between the Lines
The invention of the printed book stands out as one of the great turning points in human history. Books have had the capacity to spread ideas like never before. They have launched revolutions and opened minds, edified and scandalized, provided practical advice and imaginary escapes on lazy afternoons.
I fell in love of books at an early age. Weekly visits to the local library were a highlight of my childhood. I loved the magical hush of the interior, the smell of the older books on the shelves, and the way time seemed to stop as I got lost in a great story. More recently, I have inherited an assortment of books passed down through generations of my family. Their weathered covers and brittle pages, burnished by the touch of long-lost ancestors, are among my most treasured possessions.
The love of books has inspired my latest series of photographs. My subject matter ranges from precious tomes dating from the dawn of the age of print to cheap paperbacks destined for the recycling bin. In some images I approach the books as sculptural objects, using light and camera angle to emphasize their forms or isolate details such as worm holes, broken bindings, and pulpy paper fibers. In others I manipulate the pages to accentuate certain words. For example, in Between the Lines, I intersperse text from two different paragraphs in a 1950s guide to dating, layering phrases that generate fresh associations and novel readings.
Compared to the glow of the screen, with its moving images and ever-shifting messages, the book can seem like a spent force, a staid relic of the past. But the power of this once revolutionary technology endures. Books convey knowledge, invite us into alternate worlds, and preserve the concerns and passions of past generations. My hope is that these photographs inspire in viewers a renewed curiosity and reverence for the printed word and the book.