Picks and Pans Review: Mothers and Sons: in Their Own Words
Although several of the people in Cook's second volume of parent-child portraits are famous—Steven Spielberg, Henry Kissinger, Robin Williams, Mary Higgins Clark and Bill Clinton, among others—and most are accomplished artists and professionals, fame and fortune in the usual sense are not the book's key concerns.
In her exquisitely lit, black-and-white pictures (she uses no artificial light), and especially in the accompanying first-person statements, Cook catalogs the positive possibilities and challenges of the mother-son relationship. The texts—by the mothers and their sons, most of them now grownups themselves—speak of abiding love and mutual admiration despite travails, foibles and exasperations.
Cook, 40, a Manhattan-based photographer whose last book explored fathers and daughters, seems to let each mother-and-son pair find its own pose. No two are the same. Yet all 78 pictures share a certain glow—that conferred by the photographer's high regard for the durability and depth of the relationships. The pictures say this is her subjects' true claim to fame. (Chronicle, $22.95)