It was lovely. Not to be stared at) not seen, but being pulled into view by the interested)
unC17tical eyes of the other. Having her hair examined as a part of her self, not as mate-
rial or a style. Having her lips) nose) chin caressed as they might be if she were a moss rose
a gardener paused to admire. - Toni Morrison,
Next to starting
new book, this must be the place every writer likes most
to arrive at, the piece that is made last but comes first, that traces the long
and lonely path of hard thinking, and in this case hard looking, but remem-
bers that along the way there were fellow spirits who eased and enriched
the journey.
Portents of this work were already looming by the time I reached the end
of Felicitous Space and began to understand the kind of sense the body
makes. What I imagined for my next project-a ranging widely across
genres of visual images and discourse to explore the body's expression - is
very different from the book that has emerged. Perhaps because in the early
stages of this project I was myself so often photographed, or perhaps be-
cause the end of that period of my life coincided with the inheritance of a
large box of photographs, left unsorted by my mother, what Toni
Morrison calls "rememory" became for me bound up with the deep cul-
tural and personal meaning-the stories-photographs can yield. The re-
sult owes more than I can express here to colleagues, friends, and familiars.
My greatest debt is to Laura Wexler, for her encouragement at every
stage, for her meticulous and compassionate reading, her penetrating in-
sights. It is a heartfelt pleasure to thank her in print for the important con-
tribution she has made to this work.
Alan Trachtenberg's Reading American Photographs is the place where
cultural historians who write about photography must begin. In addition
to the importance of this and other work, Alan has been for many of us an
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