Picks and Pans Review: Man with Camera
As Man points out, George Bernard Shaw was premature in his suggestion that "the photographer is like a codfish who lays a million eggs in the hope that one may hatch." That image is truer today, when motor-driven cameras allow photographers to click off more than a picture a second. But when Man began taking photographs early in this century, the technology was much more of a hit-or-miss proposition. For the most part, Man hit. Born in Germany, he took pictures of German troops in World War I, later chronicled life in Berlin, Munich and Mussolini's Italy and traveled the world for a German magazine before fleeing to England in 1934. While he was based there, he photographed leaders in government and the arts—Churchill, T.S. Eliot, Picasso and Yehudi Menuhin among them—and eventually became an art critic. Man, now 90, had a shrewd eye for the telling scene, whether it was Toscanini sitting at a piano and singing an aria to the cast of an opera, or two Indians joking with each other in a tiny village in northern Canada. This autobiography includes 271 Man photographs, only a few of them taken after 1955. The pictures still reflect the most vibrant signs of life. (Schocken Books, $29.95)
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