Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I'm so lucky. I am a cataloger in a public library, and I get to handle every book that comes in. Children's books, reference books, fiction, poetry - everything comes through my hands. This compensates for a lot of the daily angst (oh yes, there is angst in a library!).
I just cataloged a new art book, Reading Women by Stefan Bollman. Every reading woman will see herself in paintings by Vermeer, Manet, Vuillard, or Alma-Tededma, or photographs, such as "Alice Liddell" by Julia Cameron (below).
I also found a review by the Guardian Unlimited - actually, not a review in the sense of criticism. It's a collection of short essays, each by a renowned writer who has focused on one of the images.
A. S. Byatt, for example, responds to "In the Library" by Edouard Vuillard, seeing a story in the setting of two children and a distant, perhaps disapproving young woman in the doorway of an ornate library.
Jeanette Winterson writes about a photograph of Marilyn Monroe by Eve Arnold, saying "She doesn't have to pose, we don't even need to see her face, what comes off the photo is absolute concentration, and nothing is sexier than absolute concentration."
Other Guardian essayists include Alison Lurie, Hilary Mantel, and P.D. James. If I owned a copy of this book, I would keep the article folded in its pages to remind myself to distill my visual pleasure into my own medium - language.