“Pictures with Stories: A Memoir by Tony Mendoza is a book consisting of 84 photographs, each with an attached short story. The stories average around 125 words, sometimes even shorter. They relate to the photograph, and to something that happened to me or to my family or friends, and more often than not, the stories are amusing, or surprising, or revealing. I’m thinking that this format seems appropriate for our times, considering that nearly everyone today is a smartphone photographer, and they are all posting their photos on social media accompanied with some sort of a tale. In effect, they are doing their memoirs online. What I’ve done with mine is to pay special attention to the moments chosen, to the photographs chosen, and to the crafting of the short story underneath. In a way, this book is an exploration of how short can an effective, short story be.
Pictures with Stories had an impressive early life. The Atlantic Monthly Press published an up-to-1987 version with 46 stories. Titled Stories, it received excellent reviews from major publications (New York Times, Vogue, People) and photo-stories from that version received a Guggenheim Photography Fellowship and were shown in the first installment of the Museum of Modern Art s New Photography Show in 1986. This version includes 28 stories from the 1987 version, and the rest are new pictures and stories. This new version is the portrait of the artist as a young man, a middle-aged man, and an older man.”
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