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People

Charlie White

California photographer and author of Charlie White: Photographs discusses a world of desire, Apeneck Sweeney, and loud hungry things with gnashing teeth.

Charlie White photograph
“Her Place,” from the Understanding Joshua series


Name, Book, Date of Birth: Charlie White, Charlie White: Photographs, born in 1972.

Occupation title(s): Photographer, Artist

Favorite books: The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. This book both upsets me and brings me extreme joy. The green cover makes me pause every time I see it. I love Shel Silverstein, and most of all I love this book.

Letters From The Earth, by Mark Twain. This book is all you really need to alter your view of America, and of a dominant Christian society. I recommend it to any teenager who is dealing with a tension between the world of desire and the restraints of religion.

1984, by George Orwell. For me this book changed everything, I first read it at 13 and would read it again and again as I understood more about myself and the world around me. I also recommend reading Brave New World and We while you’re at it.

What you miss about living in New York: The people, food, buildings, and culture to name a few. I never thought I would live anywhere else, but I was wrong. My family, that is my father and sister, still live in NYC and that keeps me connected. I find NYC the most culturally edifying place in the world, I love all of it, I just can no longer live with all of it. When I lived in NYC I wasn’t very happy, now I’m a happier person.

Heroes: My father. I realize that’s a simple answer, but it’s very true. I love and respect my father, and he’s been more potent than any role model and/or shared hero in society. I really like the love received from someone you respect, also realizing their flaws makes the world a more logical place.

What makes you laugh: People I know, and a few that I just listen to.

Most recent nightmare: Very upsetting, something violent. I don’t remember it that well, although it was tense. It was a loud thing that was capable of eating you, and was owned by two women in an unfurnished little house. Mostly I don’t remember my dreams; I’m glad about that.

Five words that sound great: Apeneck Sweeney spreads his knees. (The first five words from T.S. Eliot’s “Sweeney Among the Nightingales.”)

Charity worth giving to: Doctors without Borders.