GREENE, Stanley. [Black Passport]. Moscow: Leonid Gusev, 2009. SIGNED



GREENE, Stanley.
[Black Passport].
Moscow: Leonid Gusev, 2009.

8vo (225 × 169 mm), pp.[288]. Black-and-white and colour photographs. Text by Greene in Russian. Epilogue and design by Teun van der Heijden. Black endpapers. Black flexible card covers, spine and front titled in black; spine leaning slightly. Photo-illustrated wraparound band, black; light wear. Signed by Greene in silver ink on front free endpaper. A near-fine copy with an excellent band.

First Russian edition, signed. Black Passport is a visual autobiography based on several interviews conducted with Greene by Teun van der Heijden and edited as a monologue in twenty-six separate scenes, each of which reproduces a short photo-essay. Black Passport covers Greene’s career, from his early work as a fashion photographer in Paris to the various wars he has photographed in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Somalia, Croatia, Kashmir, and Lebanon, and the work in Chechnya for which he is best-known.

‘It’s something Alexey Brodovitch said, that the life of an artist is like a butterfly. If they’re lucky they can last for eight months. But I apply that to war photography, and I say when we’re lucky it can last for eight years. Like if you are reading the Tarot and you look at the death card, you can have physical death but you can also have spiritual death. That doesn’t mean you can’t continue to do it, but I think you can only keep positive for eight years. If you stay at it longer than that, you turn. And not into a beautiful butterfly. You really turn. I see it in myself, and I see it in all my friends and colleagues. We are all victims of post traumatic stress and deal with it in different ways. And we’re not beautiful butterflies anymore.

We’ve become moths. And what a moth does, it flies into the flame. You know, sometimes your wings get singed, or you just burn up. Get killed. Or you burn up inside. The drugs and the alcohol and the partying and all of that is to push it away, push it away’ (Stanley Greene).

Gerry Badger writes that, ’… [Greene] is a masterly photographer — but the most fascinating aspect of Black Passport is the insight it gives into the mind of a war correspondent who constantly questions his own motives, asking himself whether he is simply an adrenalin junkie rather than a committed witness. The book reminds us that not only is photography personal, but that photographers — even war photographers — have personal lives that are frequently as messy as the conflicts they document’ (The Photobook).

[Dutch Edition] The Photobook: A History vol.III 208


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