Invisible Eve

Yousef Khanfar. Rizzoli, $75 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8478-4110-3
Presenting portraits of women living in prison following nonviolent crime convictions, Khanfar attempts to infuse poetics and a politic into an acute societal problem. The book's photos, some including only women and others with children and grandchildren, are cheerful as they are dispirited. Accompanied with brief statements by each woman, they suggest the range of emotions present in a little observed segment of the population. For better or worse, Khanfar doesn't move much beyond this platform. The introductory essay is flush with overwrought platitudes and the coffee-table book format comes uncomfortably close to cheapening the woman's individualities, touching only on the surface of their experiences for a quick aesthetic result. Certainly the injustices thrust upon incarcerated women are worth a hard stare, and also the humanity of these women deserves attention. And while the photographs are skillfully taken and the women's diverse voices worth noting, the book's announced intention that "the fault of one being might be the salvation of another," and its maudlin tone make it seem as though the women are being profited from, as much as they are being honored. B&w photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/20/2014
Release date: 09/01/2013
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