The photographer: The Many Lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd Review

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Amory Clay (1908-1983), English pioneer of reportage and war photography. A celebrated pioneer in a male-dominated world of work. Neither Google nor Wikipedia provides only an entry about this personality. No wonder – she lives (e) only in William Boyd’s latest book. Now fictional characters are downright a defining characteristic of novels. So what is special about Amory Clay?

With all the tricks of his trade Boyd feigns an autobiography. He amalgamated Amory Clay’s life that they themselves nicely told in sequence, with countless people and events of contemporary history and garnished it as a kind of documentary evidence of the alleged Vita and fictitious work, with a lot of (slightly fuzzy) Black and white photos from her family album and her oeuvre.

Even Sources of scientific conventions falsifies the author unabashedly ( “The entry about him in the Oxford Companion to English Literature (third edition) is as follows: …”). No wonder that we readers follow the exciting fascinated resume and find no hairs, which also causes us to cherish the reality content of what is read the slightest doubt.

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Two years later the family moved into a small cottage by Beckburrow, East Sussex. There, in 1914 Sister Peggy was born. once a famous concert pianist, honored with the Order of Merit of the British Empire from the “piano prodigy”. Mother Wilfredas third child is finally a boy. Alexander, born in 1916, by all just called Xan, is a sealed in his world, frugal and simple-minded boy. Fate will end his life yet thirty years later cynically. The bomber pilot survived the crash of his machine in Normandy, but then shot next to his machine by German soldiers.

If Wilfreda Clay ever feel maternal love, it can hide these shiny. Did the young grief, she irons it off with always appropriate sayings. “It is time now is whether you doing it or not.” “Do not fuss, I can not stand the theater.” – such exhortations, no fuss to make unchangeable things (and not so bothering), Amory remain present throughout life. Thanks to a financial inheritance, the firstborn can be accommodated in a boarding school. There, she feels even more so by the family expelled.

The most important event in Amory’s unspectacular school is an early gift. Her beloved uncle Greville, photographer of the upper classes surprised her to her seventh birthday with a Kodak Brownie, triggering a detonation, which paves the way for their future: With a “click … the moment capture … fix for all time. ” Amory feel with the “miracle machine” a “power” in their hands, from accruing a great passion.

Uncle Greville, however, is also partly responsible for a first grand failure of his niece. By accompanying him to weddings and societies, they learned the “alchemy” of photography. However, to stand on their own feet as a woman, she has been making Big hitters. He advises her to “create scandal” one. These travels Amory to Berlin, studied in the infamous half-world of bars and brothels of the metropolis so far never publicly traded motifs and photographed it “authentic”. fueled by the press, exclaims the British public about the adversities and profanity, and so Amory reached notoriety and criminal proceedings in the neck. The scandal photos are destroyed, and its creator returns to London.

There, the “depraved subject” has no chance of being hired. But fate is lenient and sends her rescue in the form of American Cleve, two years younger than her father. He gives her a well-paying job at a New York Photo Journal. The love affair between the two last many years, but his marriage would Cleve not give up for it.

On behalf of the American magazine Amory comes as a photojournalist and war photographer to Paris and Germany. The impressions, for example in Wesel shake, and sober. Only a quarter of a century later, she is drawn again to a hotspot – to Vietnam. In between lies a break as a professional photographer. She marries Lord Farr of Glencrossan and brings birth to twins – another of the “many lives of Amory Clay”

late seventies spends Amory Clay their last phase of life retired in a country house on the Hebridean island Barrandale. A creeping disease has affected them. It leads her dog for a walk, drinking gin noon, evening whiskey and wanders with her thoughts far back into the past. If they occasionally wrote in her diaries, she tells detailed and clarified by her turbulent life, her constant struggle to assert themselves as a woman in her job at various theaters of the world, and of several love affairs. She reflects on her ups and downs , the good and the bad times. As everyone has made mistakes, and often they have proven to be such an afterthought. It provides surprise found that there ‘is no antonym.

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The depths of her life she has passed in the wars, and the war experiences attract even in peacetime a wide track to itself. She stuck close right in the middle Kampfgemetzel, was himself injured, spent weeks in a hospital in the country where she was cut off from the military-political development. Only with forward view they could escape such situations.

men remained in its essence a mystery. Although she worked side by side with them and lived, she learned it and do not understand their everyday behaviors.

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Men do not share with them live their loads different. Some drown them secretly in alcohol or other addictions, like her late husband Lord Farr, the house and yard almost completely playful.

What havoc of war, Amory also witnessed her father. Beverley Vernon Clay, writers and publishing editor, was a cheerful, loving man and always up for a joke. The children were speechless when he made a handstand and she regretted jokingly referred to as “poor misguided souls […] because we lived in a world that was upside down.” From World War I, the father returns back completely changed. He speaks little, brings little to paper. One day he steers his car – with Amory in the passenger seat – in a lake. He wanted to “not die alone.” “You should come.” The horrific violence that disturbing phrases rapture the father of the young girl. Long they afraid to visit him in private psychiatric hospital, where he is housed with a diagnosis of “madness”. Your entire subsequent emotional life is impaired. She will never manage to trust a man really, even if she loves him sincerely and only themselves, their inner voice, she will listen. Against this background, Amory Clay become the confident, not unterzukriegenden, tough and unapproachable woman when she is famous (alleged) today.

is imminent As Amory’s seventy-fifth birthday, she has arranged everything ready and inventoried , Who, as it is able to detect, “when life is not worth living […] can confidently die.” She ends her life “by his own hand” with dignity.

Sweet Caress < "

This book I have on the list Zu my 20 Lieblingsbüchern”

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The photographer: The Many Lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd Review. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from

The photographer: The Many Lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd Review
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