What makes this book club worthy: Essays of introduction can feel boring or in the way of a book's contents, but this very special part of Jeffrey Silverthorne's collection of photographs in Directions for Leaving is not to be missed. Written by Annie Proulx, who has won both a Pulitzer Prize AND a National Book Award, this inspirational introduction exemplifies why Proulx is a goddamn master of prose.
Directions for Leaving itself is an assembly of Silverthorne's terrifying, discomforting, superstitious and truthful photographs from 1971 through 2006. The subjects that he chooses to record are divisive in nature: his portraits of transsexuals and prostitutes are as delicate and vulgar as his shots of aging Americans and nude women. Silverthorne documents "terrible" things with tense dignity, creating grim but graceful images. The book also includes a letter to Silverthorne from the revolutionary and iconic photogapher Robert Frank. If anything, the letter is indicative of Silverthorne's valuable and talented eye. This book is not to be missed.