PDN Photo of the Day

Teju Cole’s Words and Pictures

In a new show, novelist, essayist and photographer Teju Cole presents a philosophical, diaristic account of his travels around the globe and his thinking about history, vision and art. On view at Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City until August 11, “Teju Cole: Blind Spot and Black Paper,” includes work from the book Blind Spot, published this month by Random House, which pairs Cole’s images with his writing about them, and his photographs made in response to the 2016 election. Cole has written extensively about photography in his column in The New York Times Magazine, On Photography, and elsewhere, exploring the ways images embody ideas about place, power and race. His own photographs are enigmatic but firmly descriptive, and allude to invisible forces—wind, sound, emotion, memory. About a photograph of transparent curtains in a Nuremberg hotel room, he references depictions of drapery by 16th century printmaker Albrecht Dürer, who lived nearby. “In the crumples, pleats, gathers, creases, falls, twists and billows of cloth is a regular irregularity that is like the surface of water, like channels of air, like God made visible. The human is the divine enfolded in skin,” he writes. Cole’s images are the record of a curious eye, attracted to surprising moments of juxtaposition and light. But paired with his words, they become something more substantial, offering a look into the mind of someone who has thought deeply about what it means to look.

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