Note: Jags, amongst others, have been suggesting books for us to look at. We aim to choose one at least every 3rd month. If you would like to suggest a book, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“I was introduced to Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue on my first photojournalism course. The cover captivated me – a woman staring into a distance with desperate eyes and a syringe held tightly between her teeth – as if it were the last moment of her life and the syringe was her only possession. I was disturbed and intrigued.
Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue documents inner city America during the 1980s, lives consumed by drugs, poverty and gangs, rather like the crime drama The Wire. I’ve always been drawn to work which explores the ‘other side’ of society, requiring the photographer to get under the skin of their subject yet remain impartial, something only possible with patience, respect, tenacity and courage. I was fascinated by how Eugene Richards, being a white man, had gained such trust and done exactly that, allowing him to take such close and personal shots.
Was he wearing an invisibility cloak? How did he do it? How did he develop the relationships? The book redefined the meaning of photojournalism to me – it raised the bar. The term is often overused and the story badly told, but not this time.
Picture after picture captivated me, telling me a story and leaving me haunted. I realised that a great photographer not only becomes invisible to their subject but presents their work with a respect and dignity.
If a great picture is a thousand words, this is a great novel.”