*Starred Review* God's first creation in the Book of Genesis is light, presumably so that the heavens and the earth, already in place, could be seen. Photography is preeminently the art of light, and the photographs of Aaron Rose suggest what God's first glances may have been like. They aren't the sharply focused recordings of life that most photographs seem intended to be. Because Rose makes very long exposures, which are necessary with the lensless pinhole camera he uses, and because he very often aims at light, his pictures generalize and typify instead of defining and particularizing. Their soft-focus appearance, the result of changes in the quality of light over time, helps the final images resemble abstract expressionist paintings, as in those depicting reflections in clear glass objects, or ideal conceptions of their subjects, as in the views of Manhattan buildings obtained from rooftop camera placements. Besides using nonstandard equipment and exposures, Rose prepares his own developing solutions to tint his pictures monochromatically (he never uses color film) and bring them emotionally and spiritually closer to his recollected visual experience. His personalizing procedures are the most but not the only thought-provoking aspects of Rose that Corn discusses in his essay on and elicits in his interview with the photographer. Orphaned in infancy and on his own since age 14, Rose was a professional photographer only briefly, earning his livelihood instead as an antique tool collector-dealer and longtime landlord in New York's SoHo district. For those who love art photography, this is probably the book of the year. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Alfred Corn is a poet, novelist, critic, and adjunct professor of writing at Columbia University in New York.