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Novel Photographers – The Bibliography

Not too long ago a reader of Vertigo asked me about novels in which photographers appear as important characters.  I posted a plea for suggestions and did a bit more research myself.  Here are the results to date.  Thanks to all who responded with nominations.  A word of caution.  To be honest, I have neither seen nor read most of these books.  They are here largely because of the recommendations of various thoughtful readers who have nominated titles for this list.

Adolfo Bioy Casares, La Aventura de un Fotografo en la Plata.  Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores, 1985 (translated as The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata in 1989)

Italo Calvino,  Gli Amori Difficili.  Milan: Mondadori, 1993 (contains the story translated as The Adventure of a Photographer in Difficult Loves in 1983) [the story can be read online here]

Julio Cortázar, Las babas del diablo, in Las Aramas Secretas.  1959 (translated in 1967 as Blowup, in Blowup and Other Stories) [the source for Antonioni’s film Blowup]

Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves.  NY: Pantheon, 2000

Delia Falconer, The Service of Clouds.  Sydney: Picador, 1997

David Fulmer, Chasing the Devil’s Tail: A Mystery of Storyville, New Orleans. Scottsdale: Poisoned Pen Press, 2001 [Famous Storyville photographer E.J. Bellocq is a character in this and possibly other volumes in Fulmer’s mystery series]

James Hall, Body Language.  NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1998 [first in an apparent series of mysteries featuring a Miami police photographer]

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of Seven Gables. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1851

Julie Hecht, Do the Windows Open? NY: Random House, 1997

Julie Hecht, The Unprofessionals.  NY: Random House, 2003

Julie Hecht, Happy Trails to You: Stories.  NY: Simon & Schuster, 2008

Peter Henisch’sDie kleine Figur meines Vaters. Roman mit Abbildungen. Ein Gespräch. Frankfurt: Fisher Verlag, 1975 (translated in 1990 as Negatives of My Father)

David Hunt, The Magician’s Tale.  NY: Putnam, 1997 [the first in a series of mysteries featuring a San Francisco photographer who is color-blind]

Keith Kachtick, Hungry Ghost. NY: Harper Collins, 2003

Billie Letts, Where the Heart Is. NY: Warner, 1995

Ronit Matalon, Bliss. NY: Henry Holt, 2003

Colum McCann, Songdogs.  London: Phoenix House, 1995

Péter Nádas, A Lovely Tale of Photography. Prague: Twisted Spoon, 1999

Guadalupe Nettel, Ptósis, in Pétalos, y otros Historias Incómodas. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2008 [the story can be read online here]

Cees Nooteboom, Mokusei.  Amsterdam: De Arbeiderspers, 1982

Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter.  Toronto: Anansi, 1976

Arturo Perez-Reverte, El Pinto de Batalles. Madrid: Alfaguara, 2006 ( translated in 2007 as The Painter of Battles)

Cristina Peri Rossi, El Amor es una droga dura. Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1999

Rachel Seiffert, The Dark Room.  London: Heinemann, 2001

Robert Anthony Siegel, All Will Be Revealed.  San Francisco: MacAdam/Cage, 2007

Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre. NY: Atria, 2006

Dimitri Verhulst, Problemski Hotel.  Amsterdam: Contact, 2003 (translated as Problemski Hotel in 2005)

Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County.  NY: Warner, 1992

Marianne Wiggins  The Shadow Catcher. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2007 (about Edward Curtis)

Marcus Wynne, Warrior in the Shadows.  NY: Forge, 2002 (fair warning: CIA agent turns forensic photographer)

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chris #

    Um, you forgot Britta from Delillo’s Mao II.

    October 10, 2008
  2. av #

    Also Merle Rideout in Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, as well as Bug (?) I think in Vollmann’s You Bright and Risen Angels.

    October 11, 2008
  3. Paul #

    Hi. This one isn’t a novel, but–

    A major character in a story called ‘Shots’ by Cynthia Ozick is a photographer. The story is in ‘Levitation: Five Fictions,’ and recently re-published in Ozick’s ‘Collected Stories.’

    October 13, 2008
  4. Ed #

    Saul Henchman in Anthony Powell’s THE FISHER KING

    October 15, 2008
  5. Since Ed’s introduced Powell: Sir Magnus Donners in A Dance to the Music of Time is an amateur, but enthusiastic, photographer whose hobby plays an important part in one of the sequence’s most memorable scenes.

    October 16, 2008
  6. Yes, I too am coming over from Ed’s blog: on a totally different note, will add Dick Francis’s “Reflex” and Elizabeth Hand’s “Generation Loss”! But there must be a ton of others I’m not thinking of…

    October 17, 2008

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