James Andrew Mitchell,
Body & Soul
(Pleasant View, 1999)

James Andrew Mitchell has an ear for verse and an eye for capturing its spirit. He proves both gifts in Body & Soul, a slim volume in which he gives expression to wisdom through photography.

Working with brief passages from the likes of Thomas Aquinas, Emily Bronte, Robert Burns, Confucious, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Milton, William Shakespeare and more, Mitchell gives voice to the words through the lens, employing a variety of models in black-and-white poses that stab at the heart of the quotes in question. Some of the photos are still, while others brim with kinetic energy. Some are nude, others clothed. Some are simple posed shots, while others benefit from multiple and timed exposures (although Mitchell notes in his preface that there are no layered or altered pieces here; each photograph was done on a single negative).

All of them are beautiful and expressive. The models are adept at emoting at Mitchell's direction; dancer Eleni Koenka is an especially luminous subject, brimming with contentment, joy, passion and fear as each circumstance requires.

Readers, particularly photographers, will enjoy Mitchell's reflections on the technical aspects of each shoot at the end. But everyone with an eye for beauty should find a connection in this brilliant work of art.

review by
Tom Knapp

8 September 2007

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