Our first Staff Pick is by Michelle…
In the Light of Darkness; a Photographer’s Journey After 9/11, by Kate Brooks
Kate Brooks’ journey through war is not at all what you’d expect. It begins with a fairytale wedding and ends with only one thing being certain–Kate and those of us who have read this book are still alive.
This book is definitely not for the faint-hearted. I had been somewhat familiar with these startling photographs after long talks with Kate’s father, my friend (and a fellow librarian), Dave Brooks. He had mentioned his daughter’s wild life abroad as a freelance photojournalist and I was more than just intrigued. I checked out her blog at www.katebrooks.com and I was mesmerized. But I was completely unprepared for the experience of her book. For her book goes beyond her photographs. Her narrative style, written in the form of dated entries (beginning on September 8, 2001, and ending with April 23, 2011) takes us deeply into Kate’s world. This is the real thing…as only an artist can give war life…and veins, a pumping heart, blood. She takes us on a whirlwind tour of Afghanistan, through the mountains of Tora Bora, into Kuwait, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. Some things are difficult to read and some of the pictures will never leave you. I can promise you that Kate will take you into her nightmares. But, in the end, you will have a more thorough understanding of the wars we have found ourselves tangled up in on the other side of the world.
As a woman from Niagara Falls, I was thrilled that one of our own has stepped onto the world’s big stage. I was proud of her for pushing along in a place not often welcome to women and moved by her vivid revelations of some of the world’s most dangerous places. It is amazing what a girl from Niagara Falls can accomplish!
I love the last words of Kate’s book. In a way, they explain her unique work and art, and give us a reason to be grateful for those intrepid souls who venture into the darkness in order to bring us light.
“I don’t believe a single photograph is ever worth dying for, but the total of what we produce in our lifetimes justifies that risk. If we don’t get close enough to see, there is no way to tell the story for those who can’t see at all.
Given the chance, I would do this journey all over again. I can only say that though because I am still alive.”
In the Light of Darkness; a Photographer’s Journey After 9/11, by Kate Brooks, is available at the Lewiston Public Library.