"Pictures of Longing: Photography and the Norwegian-American Migration" by Sigrid Lien, translated by Barbara Sjoholm. TNS
Descendants of Norwegian immigrants know of the albums stowed somewhere holding old family photos from those earliest days of settlement.
The solemn and still faces reveal family resemblances. Their settings fill in a few cracks of family lore. But mostly, they are soon shelved once again. In that way, “Pictures of Longing” seems familiar, but it’s so much more.
Lien has assembled a collection of more than 250 remarkable photos taken mostly by fellow Norwegians who took up photography as a New World profession.
There are the common family portraits, but there are also candid street scenes, “action” shots (in their own way) of workers, a minister reading wedding vows, a grieving couple with their infant’s casket.
Lien, a professor of art history and photography studies at the University of Bergen in Norway, dissects these photos to reveal details that make them far more informative than they first appear. Some are “brag” photos meant to reassure — or lure — those still in Norway.
She goes deep into collections by certain photographers such as Gilbert Ellestad, who documented early Lanesboro, Minn. She also highlights a surprising number of female immigrants who became photographers, born by the enterprising spirit of America.
One nit: Lien can at times seem to labor over finding meaning in each element in a photo. Was the ball of wool included to send a larger message — or is it simply a ball of wool? Sometimes, she provides the thousand words that the photo is meant to convey (ably translated by Barbara Sjoholm). But overall, her scholarship is keen and illuminating, as is her reverence and joy in the subject. Put this book on an easily reached shelf.
Tribune News service
Livy has juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease that can be life-threatening. The disease attacked her muscles, causing them to break down. She was diagnosed at age 5.
Stack’s writing in ‘Women’s Work: A Reckoning with Work and Home’ is sharp and lovely, especially in the first section of the book as she describes her plunge into new motherhood and yearlong journey to find herself again.
Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who scooped last year's Booker International Prize for fiction, was named on Tuesday among five female nominees for this year's prestigious literary award.
Bollywood couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh started celebrations of their first wedding anniversary on November 14 by visiting Tirumala Tirupati Temple in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, to seek the blessings of Lord Venkateswara.
The title would appear to play on Jack London's "The Call of the Wild," the story of a sled dog in the Yukon. The dog on the cover sure looks a lot like the one on London's cover.
The Good Liar’ pairs Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen but seldom lives up to the sheer pleasure of seeing its two leads together, for the first time as co-stars.