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Book Note: Jacques Lowe, Remembering Jack

I read this book about 6-Oct-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2003. This note was last modified Wednesday, 22-Oct-2003 22:53:30 PDT.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


Jack Kennedy, that is.

This is non-fiction, and mostly photos at that. The listed author is the photographer, dead when this project started. The bulk of the words in the book are by Hugh Sidey. Thomasina Lowe was involved somehow. It's not made clear who actually selected the photos, or who handled printing and such.

There's a mystery and tragedy associated with this book (other than Kennedy's). The negatives were apparently lost from a bank vault under the World Trade Center when it collapsed. When they opened the vault after excavating it, it says here:

I went to claim it, clinging to the hope that some contents—anything—might have been rescued. To my surprise and horror, what I found was a safe, surrealistically intact, with its door open and a symmetrical hole where the lock had been. I peered in. It was empty.
This is accompanied by a photo showing the door of a safe open, with the lock mechanism clearly still on the door, and a hand reaching in to handle one of several boxes visible in the save. There's staining around the edge of the frame, and on the floor, and on the front of other safes showing at the edges of the picture, so I believe this is an "after" shot; but it's incompatible with the description. Also the description clearly implies that the negatives were stolen, but nothing more is said about the topic.

So the book was actually printed from existing prints, and from contact sheets (which they still had in Lowe's studio).

It's quite interesting in the ways that made me interested in it in the first place. There are enough contact sheets shown that you can see what he actually shot, in addition to what got used, both originally and now. I find that very interesting.

As any kind of connected or complete story, it fails. I wanted it just to look at the photos, though, and to look at the out-takes surrounding the famous ones, and it does that just fine.

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David Dyer-Bennet