If you sat through Because I Said So last year desperately wishing Diane Keaton would find a project worthy of her talent and intelligence, take heart.
Twenty years ago, the actress (and photography enthusiast) bought the archives of the Bill Wood Photo Company, a defunct commercial-photography studio in Ft. Worth, Texas. Wood was a basic camera-for-hire in the 1950s and ’60s, snapping utilitarian portraits of whatever his clients wanted — car showrooms, glee clubs, beloved pets, deceased relatives — with little thought of artistry.
But curated by Keaton (with help from co-editor Marvin Heiferman) in the addictive book Bill Wood’s Business, the photographs take on a life and a slightly weird, unwitting artistry of their own. Bill Wood’s Business is a riveting time capsule of mid-century Middle American life — an album of what was important to one community at one point in time. The fun for the reader (and, one imagines, Keaton) is figuring out why it was.
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