Copyright Deanna Templeton 2008, self-published, courtesy photo-eye
There is something amiss with Deanna Templeton’s self published book, 17 Days, the photo documentary she created while accompanying a product promotional tour through Europe in 2008. I am bedeviled by all that bothers me, and I think that it is best described as an overall unevenness in the body of work, maybe best described as a Flickr download of vacation snapshots. And that may be its best appeal
The book has the appearance of being carefully designed, from the selection, sequencing and pairing of the photographs. There are some truly delightful and humorous pairings across the page spreads. An example is a photograph of an old woman sleeping on the window sill, while on the facing page, two girls appear to be holding back their laughter, perhaps as much as interacting with Templeton as they appear to be reacting to the sleeping old woman they share the page spread with. The book is a canopy of page design and layouts, although at times it is not apparent why, the effect creates a sense of constant motion and energy.
Because of the nature of the products being promoted on this tour, Deanne has access to the youth who were attracted by and participated in the promotional activities, such as using markers to quickly create temporary tattoos. She could observe them on the edges as they interacted amongst them selves, playing spin the bottle, popping gum, hanging out with their skateboards, sharing secrets and sharing intimate moments. Many of her subjects are photographed up close, aware of Templeton’s presence, and providing direct eye contact. Frequently she catches them acting out their youthful innocence, whether flashing a finger sign, showing off a tongue piercing, or exposing them selves for the camera.
Templeton is at her best when taking candid street photographs of the youth. When she documents the urban culture that she was moving through and subsequently attempts to create a context within the book, it lacks the same energy and insight. Her urban photographs, although with some wonderfully amusing exceptions, appears too forced and unsettlingly in their inclusion, which subsequently dilutes the books overall impact.
by Douglas Stockdale