Exemplars of Cool: Naama and Lathan

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Let’s consider an extremely slippery adjective: cool. At first glance, it’s an entry level descriptor at best. It’s a wooly, subjective soup of characteristics that meld into an irreproducible je ne sais quoi. Uniqueness is essential aspect of cool, and that’s part of the trouble. Yet, when you come across “cool,” it’s both plainly apparent, and yet somehow necessary to acknowledge.

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In 1964 Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote,“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.” The topic was hardcore pornography, but the same sentiment can be applied to “cool.”

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Photography affords us the luxury of showcasing cool without having to define it. I suspect this is why youthful audiences flock to image laden Instagram over text bound Twitter.

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Today I will write that this family portraiture session features the beautiful Naama Doktofsky, head designer of the luxury fashion label Shoshanna, at her home. That her husband, Lathan Boyce, is a design consultant for Design Within Reach. It may follow to reason, then, that they’d be elegant and understated in their dress, or that their home would be breathtakingly chic. I’d add that Lathan’s brusque masculinity accentuates Naama’s charming girlishness: like a couple out of a classic film. But could I ever do their son’s head of bubbly curls justice in writing?  And I’m sure when I told you what a “cool” family they are, you’d think, cool how? Or cool to whom? But here, mid-morning in their Brooklyn home, I captured the photographic proof. Thus, I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description…I know it when I see it.

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