After each interview, I like to make a list of things I learned from our guest. These are lessons that apply to me personally which may mean nothing to everyone else. This is why I rarely share them.
I learned a lot from my very lively conversation with New York photographer, Gerard Exupery. But if I were to choose one lesson it is to use photos I make of others to tell my own life story when I’m ready. Gerard did that beautifully in his new book Women Hold up Half the Sky. He demonstrates that there’s gold in his archives and I’ll bet there’s some in yours too.
Gerard has been photographing life on the streets of his hometown New York City for over 40 years. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that he began to show his work to others. We can thank the street photography community on Flickr for brining
Gerard out of his shell and his ex sister-in-law for giving him the inspiration and motivation to make this book.
Women Hold up Half the Sky isn’t really a biography, but more of a self portrait that tells his personal story through photographs made throughput his life of women in his life. These women are family members, lovers, friends and strangers on the streets. The carefully curated sequence spans the life of women from an infant in the park to the last breaths of someone very close to him.
His prose pulls everything together in a very efficient style that tells the stories of critical moments of his life. These are very personal short stories that you can’t stop reading once you begin. Combined with his photos this stories that are funny, sad, sometimes tense and bittersweet.
I read and review lots of photobooks, many of which are self-published lik Gerard’s. Most of them contain lots of very good photographs, but very few allowing the reader inside the head and heart of the author the way Gerard does.
This one is special.