Blind Spot, Teju Cole, 2017
Cole, the photography editor of the Sunday New York Times magazine, and an accomplished essayist and novelist, takes the reader along on his travels using a camera and his skillful, telegraphic, and provocative writing. From Switzerland to Nigeria, from Selma to Brooklyn, from Indonesia to Lebanon, Cole pairs a seemingly innocuous color photograph with insightful and meaningful observations. “…every line in every poem is the orphaned caption of a lost photograph’. “All cities are one city. What is interesting is to find, in this continuity of cities, the less obvious differences of texture: the signs, the markings, the assemblages, the things hiding in plain sight in each cityscape or landscape….” “ What work are the words in this book doing? These words are excessive, the way a dancer must be excessive, must always give a little more than is necessary.” “Color is the sound an object makes in response to light.” And on and on with brilliant observations about the mundane, the everyday, and the beautiful that is right in front of us. Vision, eyes, blindness (his own transiently), mirror neurons are all avenues for Cole to pursue seeing and knowing, and the value of art in doing so. I, of course, loved his tribute to Luigi Ghirri’s ‘testing of the shimmering boundary between the map and the territory” which are present in Ghirri’s postcards! A fine addition to Cole’s growing important work.