Judging a Book by Its Cover

He did not care what was said, but was most concerned with how it was delivered. He wanted control over the picture, typeface, colors, gloss and paper-stock used for the cover of his biography, but refused to read the contents therein. Perhaps he believed more people would see, than read, the book.  Regardless of his motives, I am compelled to feel as if the cover of his own biography personifies him.

I am certain this is how he intended it to be. The entire cover is printed in black and white. There are 5 words and one portrait.  The type-face lacks complexity, allowing the portrait to become the entire focus of the cover. It is simple.

The cover is anchored in a “depth of simplicity”. His black shirt, without distraction, is encouraging me to make eye contact, but he will never look back at me directly: forever gazing through the top of his lenses, he is looking beyond me. The lighting on his face is off center, yet his left hand is posed perfectly at mid-line, silently implying detailed thought.

I wonder what he must be thinking about, but am somehow certain it pleases him, even if subtly. His grin is muted, only evidenced in the shadows on the left side of his face while his right eyebrow curls upward in the brightness of the flash, piqued by a quiet revelation.

Despite its simplicity, the cover itself tells the story of a man full of complexity: his autobiographical epitaph.


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