“Color is more human” is a bold statement to make without qualification. Since I read that sentence in Mark Feeney’s review of Jerome Liebling’s Holyoke photographs (“Holyoke seen as brick and stone — and flesh and blood,” g, April 13), I have tried to come up with an alternative one-word characterization of color photography’s unique affect. The word I find more apt is immediacy.
The photographs that illustrate my description are Arthur Siegel’s street photographs of Chicago in the late 1940s. When I looked at one recently online, I felt a sense of instantaneous recognition. All the colors of street life are completely available in spite of the 70-year divide. A similar Chicago street image by Harry Callahan seems obscured behind the veil of time: striking, powerful, but not immediate in the Siegel manner.
The same might be said of the distinction between a photograph of an egg from the 1930s by Ansel Adams that is an object of contemplation first and an egg second, and a color carbro image of an egg by Paul Outerbridge from the same time period that reads as an egg first, then an object of contemplation.
Liebling’s color photographs have that quality of immediacy, but they’re certainly not more human than Bruce Davidson’s current show of East 100th Street photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, done in black and white.
Shut out of ‘Mormon’
I enjoyed Don Aucoin’s review of “The Book of Mormon” (“Mission Statement,” g, April 12). I mentally tallied it as one of many praising this show.
It’s unfortunate that so few people will actually get to see it onstage. I tried getting two seats together for my wife and me a few days after they went on sale, only to find that the only seats left were singles scattered throughout the Opera House. It appears that our only chance to see the show may be to wait for the inevitable movie version to come out, although I would rather see it onstage.
Perhaps Broadway in Boston will take pity on those of us who have been shut out and extend the run indefinitely in Boston, thus allowing more people to get the chance to see the show while filling their coffers with more dough.
My friend and I went to see “The Book of Mormon” a couple of nights ago, and I think Don Aucoin’s review captured the show beautifully. I especially liked the phrase about it “bursting with affection for the old-fashioned musical.”
Play it again
Matthew Gilbert wrote a great piece on the premiere of “Mad Men”
(“ ‘Mad’ lib,” g, April 5). I’ve watched it twice already.
The show’s attention to minute period detail is incredible, as in the cathode-ray TV screen interference caused by the maid’s vacuuming when Don is sitting watching with a drink before the funeral.
Regarding the pre-Google TV performance replay, I remember memorizing the plot of shows like “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” to “replay” in school the next day.
Raising her voice
I find myself dismayed by Jeremy Eichler’s recent review of the BSO’s performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony (“BSO explores sprawling visions of Mahler’s Third,” Metro, March 29). Eichler wrote, in regards to the chorus, that Maestro Gatti “unfortunately chose to leave [them] standing during the long instrumental finale.” Actually, there was a simple missed cue on behalf of the chorus, and at that point we could not have been seated by the maestro without his conducting of the sixth movement being interrupted. As well, as the chorister in question, I find Eichler’s choice to begin his review of the concert with a paragraph dedicated to my unfortunate fainting incident quite inappropriate. A reader might intuit that Gatti’s “choice” caused my fainting spell, but nothing could be further from the truth. I feel intensely grateful that Gatti put my well-being above thousands of people in that hall by choosing to leave the stage and make sure I was alright, and at the end of his night he came to check on me before leaving. I am saddened to think that because of this review anyone would have anything but admiration for Gatti, and I hope that in the future Eichler might focus more closely on the content of performances rather than on unintended, one-time accidents.
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