"Have serious sun," advises the introduction to Look Again in Baltimore (Johns Hopkins Univ., $35), which marries James DuSel's architectural photographs of Charm City with commentary by John Dorsey, former art critic of the Baltimore Sun. What struck Dorsey about the photos was their telling selectivity, how they "so often . . . caught the essence of a building or an aspect of architecture that a more inclusive picture would have missed." Thus, DuSel can find details in and about the Baltimore Museum of Art or the Walters Museum that even regular visitors may overlook, such as how, in Dorsey's words, the webbing of vines stretching across an exterior wall of the Baltimore Museum suggests "rushing movement as of white water cascading down a rock-filled riverbed."
One photo, of a building on South Charles Street, poses a mini-mystery: What could account for the nine bars of light plastered on a side wall not reached directly by sunlight? After running through several possibilities, Dorsey makes his "best guess . . . that the sun is bouncing off of some strips of shiny, reflective metal on a neighboring wall." And so the collaborators advance the purpose underlying their slantwise perspective on their city: to show how "the experience of art can stimulate original thought, which is at once the deepest purpose of art and the greatest joy of life."
-- Dennis Drabelle