Yet again the photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron has created a book that is captivating in imagery as well as in poetic reverie. That very something that throws back the glance it has just captured is, in this case, the subject: the mirror, literally as well as metaphorically.
The 44 peaceful pictures of the book tell its tale, the tale of the mirror that takes its stand in front of the camera solemnly and with composure. Its silvery shimmer, already clouded over, is symbolic of beauty. A blind spot snubs our idea of perfection. When it turns its back on us, it is hidden from view. And when, half-blind, it gazes into the sky, the yearning that is sensed is unappeasable. Unavoidably our association is with persons, characters, who are latently present but never visible. Each mirror discloses yet another facet, to become a new and in-depth portrait. The great temptation to which we succumb at the sight of the mirror is to reassure ourselves.
With this book, Jeannette Montgomery Barron whose takes of artists (including Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper, Richard Ford, and William Burroughs) have invoked a great amount of attention, evinces a psychological sensitivity that shows her to be a genuinely great portraitist.
Edmund White, the biographer of Jean Genet, has let himself fall under the spell of the spiel of shadows and innuendos. In his text, he draws circles around projections, perceptions and art itself.