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A Box of Photographs


A Box of Photographs Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Most attempts to generalize about photography as a medium run up against our experience of the photographs themselves. We live with photos and cameras every day, and philosophies of the photographic image do little to shake our intimate sense of how we produce photographs and what they mean to us. In this book that is equal parts memoir and intellectual and cultural history, French writer Roger Grenier contemplates the ways that photography can change the course of a life, reflecting along the way on the history of photography and its practitioners.
Unfolding in brief, charming vignettes, A Box of Photographs evokes Grenierandrsquo;s childhood in Pau, his war years, and his working life at the Gallimard publishing house in Paris. Throughout these personal stories, Grenier subtly weaves the story of a lifetime of practicing and thinking about photography and its heroesandmdash;Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Alfred Eisenstaedt, George Brassaandiuml;, Inge Morath, and others. Adding their own insights about photography to the narrative are a striking range of writers, thinkers, and artists, from Lewis Carroll, Albert Camus, and Arthur Schopenhauer to Susan Sontag, Edgar Degas, and Eugandegrave;ne Delacroix. Even cameras themselves come to life and take on personalities: an Agfa accompanies Grenier on grueling military duty in Algeria, a Voigtlander almost gets him killed by German soldiers during the liberation of Paris, and an ill-fated Olympus drowns in a boating accident. Throughout, Grenier draws us into the private life of photographs, seeking the secrets they hold for him and for us.
A valedictory salute to a lost world of darkrooms, proofs, and the gummed paper corners of old photo albums, A Box of Photographs is a warm look at the most honest of lifeandrsquo;s mirrors.

About the Author

Roger Grenier, an editor at Éditions Gallimard, has published over thirty novels, short stories, and literary essays and is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Grand Prix de Littéature de l'Académie Française.
Alice Kaplan is the author of French Lessons: A Memoir, The Collaborator, The Interpreter, and Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis, and the translator of OK, Joe, The Difficulty of Being a Dog, A Box of Photographs, and Palace of Books. Her books have been twice nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Awards, once for the National Book Award, and she is a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She holds the John M. Musser chair in French literature at Yale. She lives in Guilford, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

and#8220;Talking about photography . . .and#8221;
Posing for Portraits

Baby Box


A Summer in the Lab

Negative of a Nude

All Thatand#8217;s Left Is the Smile

Because of a Leica

A New Agfa


On the Tand#233;land#233;phand#233;rique

A Photo of the Train Station at Tarbes

The Poor Manand#8217;s Rollei

A Victim of Heidegger

The Curse of the Voigtland#228;nder

Another Woman and a Leica

One of the Fine Arts



The Jar

Charles Dullinand#8217;s Bedroom


The Saxophonist


One, Two, Three!

The Canon and the Photographer


The Beach at Ostia

An Angel of the Streets

News Photos

Gisand#232;leand#8217;s Grudge

Police Interference

To Each His Photographer

An Official Image

A Source

In Exile

The Swan Song of the Olympus

Of Dogs and Goats

The Dialectic of the Portrait

Translatorand#8217;s Note

Translatorand#8217;s Acknowledgments

Product Details

Grenier, Roger
University of Chicago Press
Kaplan, Alice
General Photography
Photography-Theory and Criticism
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
16 halftones
8.5 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Photography » General
Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Theory and Criticism
Biography » Literary
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

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