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Dictionary , 1994

Books

One day in 1993 I was looking at a book of works by El Greco. Is I turned a page, its surface caught light from a window at a funny angle, changing a reproduction of a painting into a shimmering distortion. What I saw wasn't El Greco anymore, but it was a beautiful new image nonetheless. I photographed this effect and was immediately inspired to find other ways of seeing books in a new light, so to speak.

The books pictured here range from the very rare to the most common. My attraction to them has less to do with their rarity or preciousness than with my wanting to find out the stories they have to tell. Making photographs of these imagined narratives is at the heart of my work here.

One of the big pleasures of this project has come from spending a good amount of time looking at, holding, smelling, and reading a terrific number of skinny, fat, tall, pompous, modest, funny, sad, proud, injured, and radiant books. Of course, there are many more out there to be found, by anybody!

For me, the magic of these objects lies somewhere between a photograph of a book and the book itself; at times, I have been convinced that books hold all the material of life- at least the stuff that fits between an A and a Z.