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From Publishers Weekly
"For as long as I can remember, I have loved taking photographs," recalls the Tony and Academy award-winning actor Grey. A few years ago, friends encouraged him to take a second look at photographs that he had taken over 25 years of travel and unceremoniously assembled in shoeboxes. The resulting collection reveals an unabashed enthusiasm for the picturesque (wizened peasant faces, gaudy religious shrines, busy market places), the rustic (jumbled junk heaps, weather-beaten wood) the quirky (laughing drag queens, listless sidewalk musicians), the recognizable (Venice, Machu Picchu, the Statue of Liberty), and cats. In a short post-script, Grey rhapsodizes about the spontaneous pleasure of photography: "I never considered a tripod, zoom, or light meter." Except for a delight in brilliant colors (a yellow and blue school bus in Mexico, flashy red dresses in Tahitian shop windows), Grey's indifference to technique and formalism is evident. His images are unconstrained by attention to composition, light and shadow, or even focus. Nor do they celebrate what Henri Cartier-Bresson-the ultimate sharp-shooter-calls "the decisive moment"; for snapshots, these photos are quite static. In his introduction to the book, photographer Duane Michals (Questions Without Answers) describes acting and picture-taking as shamanism. And indeed there is something mysterious about Grey's work; his "private act" of photography reveals memories and emotions perhaps visible primarily to him. 72 full-color photographs.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Joel Grey is best known for his Academy and Tony Award-winning performances as the emcee in Cabaret. He also received The Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his portrayal of Amos Hart in the Broadway revival of "Chicago." Grey has garnered numerous awards for his bravura work in theatre, film, television, and concerts, from his Tony-nominated work in the musicals "George M" and "Goodtime Charley and the Grand Tour" to his Emmy-nominated appearance in the TV series "Brooklyn... read more
Introduction by Duane Michals. Art Direction by Sam Shahid. Pictures I Had To Take, the first monograph by acclaimed actor Joel Grey, is a highly personal visual memoir of Grey's experiences while living and raveling in Europe, Asia, South and Central America, and the United States over the last twenty-five years. Separate and apart from his theater and film work, Grey exhibits for us images he was compelled to remember and record - the pictures he "had to take." Whether focusing his camera on a serene golden Buddha or on a majestic vista of misty Incan ruins, we can sense Grey's delightful sense of wonder and joy in the detail and the magnificent on each page, guiding us through a quarter-century of intensely felt observations.