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. But unlike my attendance at most theatrical plays, there is no introduction or prologue provided, nor any copy within the book to help establish a contextual framework, but just the serial black and white photographs to experience.
And you are left to your own imagination, which in this case, is a very good thing.
Jeremy states that is a photo play, although I really like the publishers reference to a photo-novella, a short prose tale that is characterized by wit or satire. Much in line with the popoular Mexican tv 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 though, Stigter’s image framing is too tight for a play, per se, but more in line with a cinematic noir film. We start with a partial framing of the set, 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. And there is some dark weirdness in this story.
Nevertheless, it is a story, thus not unlike a play, although a play that you would want to return to again and again, in search of the clues you missed on the first showing. And much like I had to do repeatedly for the movie Sixth Sense. And the dark under tone to the series is further emphasized by the suggestive black and white photographs, to further establish the noir 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 move through The Jewish Bride. I am not provided any written clues, thus 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 movies appeal by knowing the ending. Even though Stigter’s ending is very slippery and mysterious, thus for me, constantly evolving. Which increases my delight each time I pick up the book.
Enough to say, the book has a beginning, story line, evolves and a ending. And like a good novella mystery, you are tantalized wondering: what if? (or what the..?)
This is a large and beautifully printed and bound 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