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Light and Lens, 2nd Edition by Robert Hirsch

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3.0  Jeff Wall represents a well-known scene from Ralph Ellison’s 1952 classic novel Invisible Man. Wall’s version shows us the New York City cellar room—“warm and full of light”—in which Ellison’s black narrator lives, including the ceiling that is covered with 1,369 illegally connected light bulbs. Energy and light, stolen from the electric company, illuminate not only the character’s basement dwelling, but also the truth of his existence. There is a parallel between this hidden, subterranean place of light in the novel and Wall’s own photographic practice. Ellison’s character declares: “Without light I am not only invisible, but formless as ...

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