Causes and Spirits.
Photographs from Five Decades.
Photographs by William Carter.
Steidl, 2010. 286 pp., Tritone illustrations throughout, 9½x11".
“Watch any mother kneeling beside her toddler, pointing and explaining what they are looking at. Our urge to see, and
to connect, starts there.” William Carter
This book is both an autobiography of William Carter and a study of people. Carter’s photographs, beginning in 1960,
take the viewer on his travels throughout the world, from home to New York and Kurdistan, from Dublin to Gaza.
Whether working as a photojournalist or purely for himself, Carter focuses on the gestures and expressions of people
(sometimes charming, sometimes unsettling), and on streets and landscapes that often long for human presence.
The subtitle “Photographs from Five Decades” might seem misleading as it implies a “typical” photobook where the
sequence of images is primary. For Carter, however, it is the interplay between his photographs and writings that
allows him to see into himself and his subjects: indeed he calls himself a “photographer-writer”. In Carter’s words, his
work aims to capture the “hidden implications, eye-blink compositions, odd ironies and happy accidents” of the world.
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