WITH CAMERA: A Ghost Story is the new graphic
novel by author and artist Joy Rip. It is the haunting, disturbing
story about the last one hundred pictures found on the camera
of a missing girl - a girl with great ambitions of becoming
a world-recognized photographer and photojournalist.
WITH CAMERA" is a visual odyssey in
the form of an experimental ghost story. This ghost story creates
a more lasting haunting experience for the reader by using the
graphic novel to examine the ghostly fragmentary nature of all
stories, all storytelling, and the ends to which we will go
with our minds to create a sense of connection, a sense of connectedness,
a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a sense of destiny
and well-being in a hostile, disorderly, lonely, violent universe.
In this graphic
novel, the structure and genesis of storytelling is broken down
into fragmentary words and pictures in order to examine how
our thirst for meaning, for stability, cohesion, consistency
and continuity in our lives creates a logic of its very own
—a logic supplied by both reader and author— that
brings (imaginary or real) order to chaos and gives a sense
of permanence to our existence where none may in fact exist.
Thus, a story, is
A girl goes missing.
A photographer just disappears. Almost without a trace. Except
for 100 pictures she (may have) left behind on her camera. A
story is born. This is a ghost story about stories. About the
origin of stories. About the need for telling stories. About
the taming of chaos. About the conquest of fears. About the
creation of immortality (i.e., continuity) out of image
and logic and pain.
Storytelling is all about continuity. And every sense of continuity
we create, perceive, imagine and desire is fundamentally a sense
of immortality at bottom. The desire to live forever.. the desire
to go on forever.. is woven into every story.. even those with
a beginning, middle and end. The creation and perception of
stories with beginnings, middles and ends are not attempts to
mimic the painful changes and violent abruptness that punctuates
life. It is an attempt to cheat death by experiencing many lives..
living many lives.. cramming more life into the painfully short
one you have by telling many stories.. one story after another.
Every story is attempting
to tell the never-ending story. Whether it be the never-ending
story of immortality or the story of "the never-ending
search for happiness," who can tell?
primal purpose —the primary aim— is to cheat death
"There is a reason
for everything. Why yes! A good
reason for everything that happens." This is the story
every story tries to tell. Even the story that says it's not
so. This is why artists instinctively rebel against storytelling.
Going deeper into the image to find or lose themselves in the
image. When we desperately want to know, sometimes any story
will do if it returns the mind to an undisturbed peace that
no longer needs to know: a mind that no longer bears the painful
burden of being in the fearful dark.. and knowing it. And when
no story will do, no logic persuades, we search for satisfaction
amongst the ruins of reason, escaping into the strange untamed
soils/lands of aesthetics.
Danny Heitman writes
"The Best beach books are what all good writing should be —
a call to attention; a sense of mystery; a raised alertness
to what is permanent.. and what is transitory."
Don't let the thickness
of this book fool you. Joy Rip's 300-page graphic novel GIRL
WITH CAMERA: A Ghost Story is a breezy
But it is a haunting
read. It haunts with paintings and words that set a host of
ghostly anonymous figures against vast, empty, abstract spaces,
stimulating impressions of expansive desert flats, infinite
seaside seascapes, rolling dunes and roiling waves, all conceived
as sun drenched wastelands and wondrous beauty.
(LA, CA): Amazon's Top Reviewer of the arts reviews the
paperback edition of GIRL WITH CAMERA: A Ghost Story.
work is splendid because it is so very engaging and so trusting
that the reader will participate in the process. "
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