FOX AMONG HEDGEHOGS


A single geranium blossom on my windowsill. 




Philosopher Isaiah Berlin would call Rachel a fox among hedgehogs. She reads Latin, spins wool, makes the best fig jam and tends an organic garden. When she is not teaching at a grade school in Florida, she writes a delightul blog, Modo Vernant Omnia, where she discusses politics, literature, economics and art. Recently, she blogged about her interest in Star Trek and Leonard Nimoy's photography book, Shekhina. She compared Nimoy's hauntingly beautiful photos with those of Mapplethorpe whose work she admires. I confess that    Mapplethorpe is vastly unfamiliar to me. Once, I happened to glance at his photos at a New England bookshop whose owner did not shrink from controversy.  My feeling at the time was that I had no reason to replace  Cartier-Bresson, and the Hungarian masters, Andre  Kertecz( Kertesz Andor)  and the brothers Capa (Friedman)  and Brazilian Sebastiao Salgado with Mapplethorpe on my list of favorites.

Nimoy's Shekhina is a different story, It is an homage to his Jewish Orthodox childhood and to the feminine aspect of G'd, a courageous choice given that most Orthodox Jews might find semi-nude women an odd representation of any aspect Shaddai .  But Shekhina is only one  just one of Nimoy's projects. The one I like best is his Borghese series that deals with Canova's sculptures of  Paulina Bonaparte Borghese. his Hand series is as elegant and ethereal asthe shots of Georgia O'Keefe's hands by  Stieglitz. But is Nimoy a better photographer than he is an actor/ I could not say.  Once I spent some time in the company a twice Pulitzered photographer who told me that the difference between a good photographer and a bad one is that I good photographer hides his mistakes. Obviously he was being facetious. One does not get Pulitzer prizes by simply  hiding bad photos. The difference between Nimoy's acting and his photography is that the he has greater latitude in his work than he does  in playing Mr. Spock. As far as I am concerned, Shekkhina's cover photo alone--a woman wearing tefilin--is worth all episodes of Star Trek. Rachel will probably disagree. Then again, as a proper fox, he loves  both Nimoy as Spock and Nimoy as the translator of light and shadow into memorable  art.

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