Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Half

It must have been two years since I went to see Simon Annand's exhibition at the National Theatre and I was struck by the beauty of the images, since then I have lusted after his book every time I've seen it in a book shop, but never enough to pay the full price. So I when I spotted it in the Book Warehouse on Camden High street for £7.99 I had to have it. There are still a couple of copies left so if you are in the area and want to get a slightly tired copy at a good price, get down there before they are all gone.

So what's it about? Simon Annand spent 25 years photographing actors in the half-hour before the performance, there are over 300 photos, many of which are outstanding, the cover being a great example of the best. Some are posed if not by Simon then by the actors themselves others appear to be taken at moments when the actors are deep in thought, seemingly unaware of the camera. Its these moments that really grab me.

There isn't much in the way of words other than a forward by Simon and an unpretentious introduction by Michael Kustow. Each photo is simply annotated with names, locations and dates. Its both a document of the actors, the space they inhabit in the dressing room and a keen observation of their behaviour in that private space and time. A great little collection of photos.

If you are unable to get a hardback copy for £7.99 Amazon sell a paperback copy at a reasonable £13.00, those of you in the good old US of A might find it a little less reasonable.

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