Photographs copyright of Jeremy Stigter, courtesy of Nazareli Books
I have been enjoying Jeremy Stigter’s first book The Jewish Bride, a photo play recently published by Nazareli Press at the end of 2008. Unlike my attendance at most theatrical plays there is no introduction or prologue provided. Nor is there any text within the book to help establish a contextual framework, just the serial black and white photographs to experience.
I am left to my own imagination which in this case is a very good thing.
I really like the publishers reference to a photo-novella which is a short prose tale that is characterized by wit or satire. This book is much in line with the popular Mexican t.v. novella’s that have found their way to the United States recently with twist and turns, some subtle, some not, with hot romance, intrigue and dark secrets.
For me Stigter’s image framing is too tight for a play and more in line with a cinematic noire film. We start with a partial framing of the set and then progress to a series of close-ups of the principal actors, then back out again, as the movement of the frame continues to lead you through a story line. There is some dark weirdness in this story.
Nevertheless it is a story that you would want to return to again and again in search of the clues you missed on the first showing. Which is much like I had to do repeatedly for the movie Sixth Sense. The dark under tone to the book is further emphasized by the black & white photographs to further establish the noire quality to the story line.
Unlike some stories where once through is enough I find that I have a new visual story each time I read through The Jewish Bride. I am not provided any written clues and I can freely and imaginatively supply my own dialog. And by the way I am only hinting at the ending because like the movie Sixth Sense, you miss much of the movie’s appeal by knowing the ending. Stigter’s ending is very slippery and mysterious and for me it is constantly evolving. This aspect increases my delight each time I pick up the book.
Enough to say that the book has a beginning, story line, evolves with an ending. Similar to a good novella mystery I am left with a tantalizing what if? (or what the..?)
This is a large and beautifully printed book measuring 11 x 14″ with 58 duotone plates over 120 pages. The linen hardbound cover has a tipped-in image from the series.
By Douglas Stockdale