My Lazy Eye

My initial rush of enthusiasm on looking over My Lazy Eye quickly has only grown as I’ve spent more time with it. First there are the stunning images, and then even more stunning is their context, in conversation with each other. I have to say that I find most photo books having just one life – once I turn the pages, the treat is over, the discovery gone, and onto the shelf it goes – I know it’s because I’m probably more literal than visual. But this book is a constant surprise and revelation, making my lazy eye work overtime, not just investigating the images, but going back and forth between those facing each other and often flipping back a page or two to see how seamlessly you traveled half the world, and took us along, only so subtly shifting the context that we have to wonder, “hey, how did that magician get us here so suddenly?” This book is never going to go on the shelf, but will stay where I can constantly dip into it, delight my visual sense and also let me play the association game – of how one image reflects, mirror or not, the other. And I feel privileged to be able to play some of the insider games, too, like matching Mary Edna with a world view that looks like one of her works.    

But then there are those that stand solo – not just the eclipse, but the image of Emanuel with a ghostly Calhoun in the distance – with that image alone, you can sum up a lot of recent, and not so recent, Charleston history. I know I will discover more with time, but each time through, I get excited with the same sense of transcendence that great art gives. ~ Harlan Greene



$60 Signed Copy



Jack Alterman’s new book of photographs is a smashingly awesome retrospective.  The large-format book of 204 pages includes more than 200 photos, some new, some familiar as a frayed, button-down shirt. It’s filled with portraits of people and buildings where crisp, warm light is as much of a star as the subjects.   You’ll recognize Charleston throughout, particularly in portraits of people from all walks of life.   You’ll find Joe Riley, Marcus Amaker, David Rawle, Dorethea Benton Frank, Philip Simmons, Jack Bass and Nathalie Dupree.  Then comes Harlan Greene, Layton McCurdy, Robert Dickson, Anthony “Tony the Peanut Man” Wright, Tommy Read and Henry Berlin.  You’ll find artists Mary Whyte, Jonathan Green, John Doyle and Adrianne King Comer.  These are images of strength and character with a smidge of innocence thrown in by the master photographer. Through the book, you will also travel the world with breathtaking images from Yosemite National Park, New York, Ireland, Indonesia, Paris, Mexico and Africa.   “Although they were created over many years and in places far apart, they speak to each other through the spirit reflected in their eyes and gestures by design,” Alterman wrote in the foreword. As you flip pages, you’ll find humor and see relationships between very different photos.  Charleston’s Ben Moise, for example, is across a page from a giraffe in Africa.  Then there’s a photo from Central Park in New York of a two-toned brick mosaic that’s across from a black-and-white wall in Indonesia. “When I review them [the photographs] today, I realize that one picture triggers a memory of another, and when paired together they produce a whole new perspective,” Alterman wrote. The book is titled, My Lazy Eye, which, Alterman explained, it’s a metaphor to how he got started with photography in the first place after being born with amblyopia, a vision impairment also known as “lazy eye”. I think it just made his good eye that much better.  And so it did.  There’s nothing lazy about Alterman’s new book.  It’s as good as it gets. ~ Andy Brack Andy Brack, editor and publisher, Charleston City Paper