Author photos, the kind you find on book jackets, aren't merely photos of the author. They must capture the feel of the book and the writer. Often they are lightened or darkened to show the tone of the author's works, or of one book in particular. Frequently, they are touched up to the extreme to make the author appear more attractive. But since photographer Margaretta Mitchell approached these writers as portrait subjects rather than as poets, and for a photo collection rather than a book cover, she was free to show them as they really are. She lets their poems (on the opposing pages) speak for themselves. Included in Mitchell's book are some of the country's greatest and most famous poets, such as former Poet Laureate Billy Collins, National Humanities Medal recipient Maxine Hong Kingston, and 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature winner Sherman Alexie. The lush and candid black-and-white images feature a variety of styles, race, ethnicity, and appearance. To kick off the exhibition of Mitchell's photos, which runs through April 7, Open Book is having local celebrities, including photographer Wing Young Huie, Romantica singer Tony Zuccardi, and Star Tribune gossip columnist C.J., read their favorite poems. Opening reception 7 p.m. Friday, March 7.
March 7-April 30, 2008