Dan Eldon: The Art of Life

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Dan Eldon: The Art of Life [Hardcover]

Jennifer New , Kathy Eldon
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eldon's powerful photographs of the escalating war in Somalia were instrumental in bringing international attention to that troubled region, and he seemed poised on the brink of an important career as a Reuters photojournalist when, in 1993, at the age of 22, he was stoned to death by a Somali mob. The posthumous The Journey Is the Destination, based on his journals, was one of the most enthusiastically received books of 1997. Eldon's youthful mastery of a fluid and vibrant collage style derived in part from the similar journals of Peter Beard, but charged with originality fully justified their publication. New's biography allows for a further selection from Eldon's 17 volumes of journals, which fittingly dominate the text both visually and thematically. Unfortunately, Eldon was in many ways a typical young man, confused, temperamental and capricious, if extraordinarily driven, and the hagiographic tone of this book is at odds with the details of his life. It is very hard to resist the temptation to make a cult of those who die young and full of promise, a temptation that New, an educational consultant in Iowa City, does not always avoid. And even granting the intrinsic interest of the journals, they are still clearly the apprentice work of someone who would have gone on to further discourses. (Oct.)Forecast: As the flipside to the young, introspective collagistes like Sabrina Ward Harrison (Brave on the Rocks, etc.), Eldon's life and work set an example of engagedness that might be tough to emulate, but should inspire younger readers. A film is in the works.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Photojournalist Eldon was 22 when he was killed by a mob in Somalia whose strong anti-American sentiments had been inflamed by the war and famine that he was documenting. It is tempting to regard Eldon as a figure whose early death is responsible for bringing him more attention than the sum of his work merited, but his capability and striking sincerity blaze from every page of New's interweaving of his photos and journal entries, including drawings, and her account of his life. Curiously, it isn't an overwhelmingly sorrowful book. Rather, it fills one with wonder at the fullness of what Eldon achieved in the short time allotted him. If his body of work is small, it constitutes a small victory, with no tragedy in it. Tragedy is supposed to inspire fear and dread, but Eldon's short life and the simple courage and curiosity with which he lived it have the power to make us brave. Will Hickman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Jennifer New escaped big-city life a few years ago to return to her hometown of Iowa City, where she runs an educational consulting business with her husband. She writes non-fiction for local and national publications.

Kathy Eldon is co-producing both a feature film about her son's life and a documentary about journalists who put their lives at risk to tell a story. She lives in Los Angeles.
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