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Mirrors and Smoke: How I Became a Photographer by Robert Dunn

Mirrors and Smoke: How I Became a Photographer

by Robert Dunn

66 pages
Mirrors and Smoke is a book of reinvention, how novelist Robert Dunn became a successful photographer, his photobooks in MoMA and ICP. Learn to see with a camera the world in rich, new ways, discovering a bounty of beauty and revelation.

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Category: Art:Photography
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About the Book
In 2011, prize-winning fiction writer Robert Dunn read a review of a new Fuji single-lens-reflex camera, and something clicked. Later that day, although the then-new Fuji X100 was as hard to get as the latest iPhone, he’d tracked one down. The next day he went out shooting photos for the first time since a brief dalliance with a cheap Nikon decades earlier.

Little did Dunn know his life had changed. He’d always loved photography, and now he took his new camera with him everywhere he went. Photographs accumulated, and he began to put them into books. Soon he was making photobooks in a spirit similar to the novels he’d written, and those photobooks are now in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, and the New York Public Library.

In Mirrors and Smoke, Dunn tells the full story of his discovery of photography, and the way it changed his life. It’s a memoir of finding a new passion later in life. It’s about the bountiful world of photobooks. Most of all, it’s about the way Dunn has learned to see the essence of the world around him in ever greater and more meaningful detail, then take that empathic vision and turn it into art. As he writes: “I found out that being a photographer was vastly more interesting than not being one. That walking about trying to see, and feel, as much as possible, then render all that into images was a much richer life than not doing it.”

Mirrors and Smoke is a book for everyone who has already traced the magical path of becoming a photographer, as well as the simply photography-curious. Read it, then pick up your camera and go hit the streets. There’s a bounty of beauty and revelation waiting for you out there.


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About the Author
Robert Dunn is a well-known novelist (Pink Cadillac, Savage Joy) who became a successful photographer. He focuses on photobooks, including New York Street, Shuttertown, and Meeting Robert Frank, all in the permanent libraries of MoMA and ICP. Dunn teaches photobooks at The New School University.



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