Eudora Welty. Photographs. University Press of Mississippi, 1989.
This book helped me define my relationship with photography. Firstly, it proves (as if that was really needed) that one can be really creative in more than one field. In Welty’s case, these fields include photography, journalism and literature. She succeded in all. Secondly, it proves once again that good photography has essentially little to do with technicalities. I will return to this later.
The book contains an introduction written by Reynolds Price (a keen supporter of her) as well as an interview with Welty by the publisher’s staff. Both are informative and contributory.
Watching photographs of Welty makes me feel relaxed. I do not remember any image that was shocking or hopelessly tragic. What amazes me most is the lack of even a trace of pretension. No thriving for a message, no forced addition of grossly symbolic elements. Just plain photographs by a mature person with sensitive eyes and an open mind. Many of the photographs are from 1930’s and her attention was mostly focused on American South with an emphasis on blacks and the rural life. The photograph that made it to the cover of the book is an excellent summary of what she has achieved.
Returning to technicalities, there are occasional photographs in the book that are not sharp, that are poorly focused or even seemingly poorly composed / processed / printed. And I like them all! I like what Ms. Eudora Welty, the self confident writer-photographer, shows me kindly: The technics is just peripheral to the real thing, which has always been the soul. Thanks for the lesson.