From Library Journal
Published in conjunction with an exhibit that will travel from San Francisco to Houston, New York, and Chicago through January 2004, this volume features the photographic work of the beloved author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Many of Lewis Carroll's photographs are of young girls he knew, often posed in costume with elaborate scenery and props that convey a sense of fantasy similar to that portrayed in his fiction. Curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Nickel focuses on the subject matter of Carroll's photographs and how it relates to the Victorian preoccupation with symbolism in art. He also discusses some previous interpretations of Carroll's work, including speculations about Carroll's personal relationships with the girls in his pictures. This volume is most suitable as a supplement to either of two other books recently published on Carroll's photographs: Roger Taylor and Edward Wakeling's Lewis Carroll: Photographer, a highly detailed overview of Carroll's life as a photographer, suitable for academic libraries; and Morton Cohen's Reflections in a Looking Glass, a solid introduction to Carroll's photography for public libraries. With thoughtful essays and high-quality reproductions, Nickel's book is also recommended for academic or larger public libraries.Eric Linderman, East Cleveland P.L., OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Nickel's introduction to this splendid album of Lewis Carroll's photographs sports one factual howler (he identifies the king, James V, in Scott's Lady of the Lake,
as English) and some poor and illogical wordings. But his persuasive explication of Carroll's photography and revisionist assessment of Carroll's character make up for such shortcomings. He says Carroll's Victorian circle saw more than met the eye in his pictures, filling in cultural resonance and even physical detail from their knowledge of philosophy, literature, and history. Performing a kind of visual Platonism, they recognized in a child in a makeshift costume before a backdrop that doesn't cover the wall behind it an emblem of a great person, incident, sentiment, or all three at once. Appreciation today suffers from the modernist assumption that a photograph represents material reality only. Besides reading the pictures incorrectly, modern eyes misconstrue Carroll's personality. Carroll was fond of little girls, Nickel says, but the photos and his diaries demonstrate equal liking, equally nonsexual, for boys and other adults. A breath-of-fresh-air of a book. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved