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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094
jpotts@andrew.cmu.edu

For immediate release:
Sept. 7, 2005

Words and Pictures Chronicle Working-Class Life In Collaborative Book by Carnegie Mellon Professors

 

"Street" is a collection of photographs like these shot by Brodsky in the 1980s of people in Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. Each photograph is accompanied by a poem written by Daniels that tells the imagined story of the person pictured.



PITTSBURGH - What does a photograph of a woman, standing on her front stoop, tell us about her life? What can we learn about a man by looking at his feet? His belt buckle? And what do words tell us that pictures do not? These are questions that Carnegie Mellon University professors Jim Daniels, a writer, and Charlee Brodsky, a photographer, explore in their evocative new book "Street." The book is slated to be published this month by Bottom Dog Press.

"Street" is a collection of photographs shot by Brodsky in the 1980s of people in Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. Each photograph is accompanied by a poem written by Daniels that tells the imagined story of the person pictured. The book is divided into three sections: "The Art of Letting It All Hang Out" features pictures of people's torsos, with their heads cut out of the photograph; "The Invisibility of Doors" comprises environmental portraits; and "Stillness and Sway" features pictures of people's feet.

"Isolating a part of the body, what that reveals, as a poet was attractive to me and gave me room to imagine what these people's stories had been," said Daniels, the director of the Creative Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon and the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English.

Daniels and Brodsky, a professor in the university's School of Design, have been collaborating since 2002, and their work has appeared in several journals including The Michigan Quarterly Review, New Letters, The Tampa Review, The Worcester Review, The Indiana Review, Slipstream, The Yalobusha Review, Witness and The Connecticut Review.

"It was very interesting for me to see these words and photographs together. There's a certain kind of dimension that words can bring to an image that I enjoy," Brodsky said. "I think rather than a moment in time, there's a story that happens. Rather than just what the viewer brings to an image, by adding Jim's words there's a thicker story there," she added.

Most recently, Brodsky and Daniels have collaborated with Jane McCafferty, an associate professor of creative writing, on the Homestead Project, an exhibition of photos of modern-day Homestead, Pa.-and most notably that large shopping and entertainment complex that now sits where the storied Homestead Works once churned out steel-juxtaposed with a series of old-town Homestead photos. All are accompanied by Daniels' and McCafferty's poetry. The Homestead Project recently was on display at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art and will be featured during an event at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the historic Pump House in Homestead.

"I think it has a lot of meaning to people in western Pennsylvania," Brodsky said. Said Daniels, "We're hoping that will be a book someday soon."

To order "Street" go to http://members.aol.com/Lsmithdog/bottomdog

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