Deseret Morning News, Sunday, December 12, 2004

Books show the power of images

Collections offer peek into lives of artists and their subjects
By Dave Gagon

Deseret Morning News

ECHO OF THE SPIRIT: A PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNEY, Chester Higgins Jr., Doubleday, $29.95, hardback, 256 pp. with 70 black and white photographs

This book is about photography . . . and a little more, it illustrates the power of images to communicate and entertain.
In "Echo of the Spirit" photographer Chester Higgins Jr. documents the history and lives of African-Americans and Africans near and dear to him.

Higgins discovered his calling as a photographer during the civil-rights movement; he noticed that all news photographs showed only negative images of the era and Higgins wanted to chronicle the positive efforts of black Americans.

After learning the craft of photography from P.H. Polk — and being influenced by Arthur Rothstein of "Look" magazine, Cornell Capa of the International Center of Photography, and artist Romare Bearden — he began his career in photojournalism.

"Echo of the Spirit" links the past to the future in two sections — "Within the Blood" and "Water of Change" — encompassing 28 chapters, each consisting of one- to 10-page anecdotes. The documentary style of Higgins' photographs is actually less affecting than his prose, which is very good — as in the chapter on rural family life in the South during the 1950s where he was a child preacher.

Higgins takes the reader from his past into his future, recording in picture and verse the important people around him. And while the photography is certainly good, readers will become more infatuated with the stories of his life.E-mail:

© 2004 Deseret News Publishing Company

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