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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Cinematic and cryptic...moments" for "the watcher and the watched.", 30 Sep 2009
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Noir A-Z (Hardcover)
I don't know what to make of this as a book. The size (approx. 6.5 x 5 x 1.75 inches) suggests a photo album; moreover the pages are thick and stiff like a photo album as though to hold pasted-on snapshots. And of course this IS a photo album. There are in fact 26 photos, one for each letter of the alphabet. The photos are provocative and a bit bizarre, attractive and not attractive at the same time. Cartoon figures co-exist with scantily-clad models. Danger merges with the erotic. People are caught in private moments literally with their pants down, and we are invited to be voyeurs.

The photographer, Julian Hibbard writes that he likes to "examine the boundaries between play...what is real, what is not...." He wants to delve beneath the surface where lie "mystery, twists, encounters with the unexpected, the surreal."

On the facing page of each color photo is a page giving the letter of the alphabet and a tag line, e.g., "A is for 'Abandoned'" with a photo of an old car decaying in the woods. My favorite is "J is for Jeopardy" which shows a young, attractive, lanky woman in a blue/purple dress on a narrow ledge of a brick building high above the ground. Unaccountably she has pulled up part of her dress to show a silk stocking leg as though posing for a publicity shot for a thriller movie.

Stephen Mayes's short commentary identifies the photos as "graphic incidents" which gets to the story quality of the photos. Each photo suggests a text and a subtext. The man in a black suit on a rock wall is "Pursued," but by whom and why, and how did he get there? The woman seen through the windshield of her car is "Transfixed," but why is she wearing white gloves and why the white wig and what is she staring at that has transfixed her?

Meyers finishes with "This is a child's book for adults, a story of darkness told lightly and confused emotions made linear, stories of innocence that can only be understood by the experienced."
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The Noir A-Z
The Noir A-Z by Stephen Mayes (Hardcover - 14 Sep 2009)
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