You’re undoubtedly a fan of the director Errol Morris because, well, who isn’t? You’ve also proved that you have great taste, hence your presence here on this site, and people with great taste always like Errol Morris. For those of you, like we, who are super fans, you’ve no doubt instantly read Morris’ essays in the NY Times the minute they’ve been posted. Now several of them, those pertaining to photography, have been expanded and accompany additional writing, in a new book released this week, Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography. True to his familiar and incredible method of getting beyond what we think is truth, the book uses a number of examples (most of which had, as mentioned earlier, appeared in multi-part form in the NY Times) to illustrate that simply because there’s photo evidence doesn’t mean that what you’re seeing is accurate or hasn’t been manipulated. It looks terrific and like every other Morris project to date, we’re eager to devour it. Here’s a description from the publisher:
In his inimitable style, Morris untangles the mysteries behind an eclectic range of documentary photographs, from the ambrotype of three children found clasped in the hands of an unknown soldier at Gettysburg to the indelible portraits of the WPA photography project. Each essay in the book presents the reader with a conundrum and investigates the relationship between photographs and the real world they supposedly record.
…With his keen sense of irony, skepticism, and humor, Morris reveals in these and many other investigations how photographs can obscure as much as they reveal and how what we see is often determined by our beliefs. Part detective story, part philosophical meditation, Believing Is Seeing is a highly original exploration of photography and perception from one of America’s most provocative observers.
An excerpt of the book can be found here.