I stumbled across Speak Softly to the Echoes in a Half Price Books some years ago. It was cheap and I snatched it up for the combination of image and text more than anything. It’s given me an idea about something, reminded me of a twitter exchange (I think… I can’t find it now) some months back with Andrew Molitor that I won’t go into here…


I’m fairly sure that Speak Softly to the Echoes was a self-publishing effort from Gore, who was a professional art photographer, seemingly in the vein of Thomas Kincaid, back in the 1970s and 80s, I think, in Morrison, CO, where he had a photographic studio and gallery.

In it, Gore remembers his aunts, an uncle, some schoolmates, and his childhood in Hoke County, North Carolina. The writing is solid, poignant, funny, and pleasant-enough to read.

The photography is very much 1970s (the book is copyright 1978), with several featuring a fade-to-white vignette and many with the telltale oversaturated autumnal color that I remember from some of my aunts homes in the early 1980s and that appeals, or appealed, to, for example, a small segment of very Caucasian Americans.

I can’t recommend it, and won’t link to bookfinder. The cover price was $25.00 in 1978, which given inflation, would put it out of my price range today. My rather beat-up copy has $10 pencilled 0n the title page, and I peeled a $4 sticker off the front, so if you see it somewhere, you’ll know if it’s overpriced. The name “Art Gore” isn’t featured in any major historical surveys and he didn’t have any shows at MOMA or LACMA or anywhere. But he did run a photo studio and gallery in Colorado for years, and did sell some pretty pictures to the tourists that came through, and that’s more than I’m ever likely to do with my photography, so there’s a little something to it. And if you’re interested, as I am, in the ways photographers use text, Speak Softly to the Echoes is a useful example, and gives me a glimmer of an idea, maybe, so I give it a solid thumbs up.

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  1. I actually knew Art Gore, met him at the Mucky Duck on Captiva FL. I bought one of his books as I have family in NC and loved the pics. My book has a stamp and Author signature to me. Myself and a girlfriend actually spent a few days with him and a woman who’s name I can’t remember. He seemed like a sad fellow to me. 1978 I think.

  2. Can’t recommend it? It’s a beautiful book, both visually and prosaically. And poetically, for that matter.. Read it again! Maybe it will grow on you. Thanks for giving it the thumbs up, anyway.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Loretta! I will take another look, and given that I was born the same year this book came out, I sorta doubt the aesthetic will grow on me much, but we’ll see.
      The writing is great, though, and I do need the reminder about whatever project idea it sparked in me, so thanks again for returning this book to my consciousness!