Shooting Off My Mouth Spitting Into the Mirror.
Lisette Model, A Narrative
By Eugenia Parry. Edited by Manfred Heiting.
Steidl Photography International, 2010. 128 pp., 51 tritone illustrations, 8x9½".
Shooting Off My Mouth Spitting Into the Mirror
inaugurates a new direction in photography and
photography writing, as author Eugenia Parry
offers an interpretation of the work of Lisette
Model (1901–1983) through a meta-fictional soliloquy “by” the artist. Stepping beyond conventional
critical approaches, it explores the psychic forces in
Model’s life, her musical training and the peculiar
process by which she transposed modern sounds
into the unique visual gifts that distinguished her
as an artist and a teacher:“Everyone I photographed
is some kind of animal, darling. Look
again. You’ll see what I mean,” writes Parry, channeling Model. “
My best picturesmake up a personal menagerie.
I combined what’s bestial in people
with what’s bestial in modern music. Dissonance!
Macabre violence! I’m an animal of the ear, darling.
Arnold Schoenberg was my great and only
teacher.” Parry extemporates on the facts of the
photographer’s life: at the age of 19, Model began
studying music with composer Arnold Schönberg
and met the members of his circle. In the mid
1920s, she met her future husband, the painter
Evsa Model and in 1933 she gave up music, committing
herself to visual art. Manfred Heiting’s
design enhances Model’s images, and Parry’s soliloquy
accompanies a 50-plate selection of Model’s
signature and lesser-known photographs, and
excerpts from more than 30 notebooks.