"Cameraman" By Dana Stevens
Born the same year as the film industry in 1895, Buster Keaton began his career as the child star of a family slapstick act reputed to be the most violent in vaudeville. Beginning in his early twenties, he enjoyed a decade-long stretch as the director, star, stuntman, editor, and all-around mastermind of some of the greatest silent comedies ever made. Even through his dark middle years as a severely depressed alcoholic finding work on the margins of show business, Keaton’s life had a way of reflecting the changes going on in the world around him. In Camera Man, film critic Dana Stevens pulls the lens out from Keaton’s life and work to look at concurrent developments in entertainment, journalism, law, technology, the political and social status of women, and the popular understanding of addiction.
Dana Stevens has been Slate’s film critic since 2006. She is also a cohost of the magazine’s long-running culture podcast, Culture Gabfest, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Bookforum. Camera Man is her first book.