The Invisible Stranger: The Patten, Maine, Photographs of Arturo Patten

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9780060192341: The Invisible Stranger: The Patten, Maine, Photographs of Arturo Patten
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In this unique collaboration Arturo Patten, one of the most important portrait photographers of our time, and acclaimed writer Russell Banks visit the hardscrabble north country of Patten, Maine, to study its inhabitants. Patten's haunting portraits of the town's residents evoke characters who exist in Russell Banks's fiction. Banks, the author of Cloudsplitter, The Sweet Hereafter, and Affliction, observes Patten's "characters" from his remote cabin in the Adirondack hills of upstate New York, where he surrounds himself with the thirty-seven portraits and contemplates what they tell us about Patten, Maine, about portraiture, and ultimately about ourselves.

The Invisible Stranger, therefore, becomes nothing less than a meditation on what it means to be human. By becoming the "invisible stranger" and obscuring himself behind the camera's lens, Patten allows his subjects to emerge and then presents them to the viewer, who, seeing these individuals, also sees himself. Banks, too, acts as the "invisible stranger," studying the townspeople from hundreds of miles away and reflecting on the complex relationships between photographer and subject, subject and observer. Taken together, Patten's portraits and Banks's commentary offer a dramatic and provocative combination of word and image.

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About the Author:

Russell Banks, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is one of America’s most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Common Wealth Award for Literature. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.

 

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