Pedro Guerrero: A Photographer's Journey
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, . . Princeton Architectural, $55 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-56898-590-9
A careful hybrid of art monograph and anecdotal autobiography, this compilation places the recollections of Guerrero, who was Frank Lloyd Wright's on-call photographer for 20 years, in direct relation to his body of work. As a result, the book largely documents the lives and works of three prominent personalities of art and architecture—Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. Guerrero's work occupies an odd zone, more compositionally purposeful than documentary photography but without the ideology or invention that suggests an ambition toward high art, like many architectural photographers of his generation. Guerrero shows deep devotion to his subjects, but his respect sometimes comes across as adulation. Many photographs look as if they were composed for the subject's approval rather than to record a spontaneous moment. As a portraitist, he never seems to catch his subject off-guard. A seasoned storyteller with a keen appreciation for the punch line, Guerrero relates anecdotes of his encounters with celebrities with a youthful excitement and conversational ease. The stories work best when paired directly with photographs and the lengthy captions are often the most engaging. The chapters about Guerrero's childhood and family that open and close the book are inspirational, but feel out of place among the outsize personalities of Wright, Calder and Nevelson.
Reviewed on: 02/05/2007