The PhotoBook Journal

June 16, 2018

Simon Roberts – Merrie Albion

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_cover

Photographer: Simon Roberts (born & resides Great Britain)

Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK, 2017

Text: English

Introduction by David Chandler and essays by A L Kennedy, Alex Vasudevan, Carol Ann Duffy, David Matless, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Ian Jeffrey, Irenosen Okojie, Nikesh Shukla and Tristram Hunt.

Hard cover, sewn binding, four-color lithography, detailed captions, pagination, printed by Petit S.K. Lublin, Poland

Photobook designer: Ben Weaver

Notes: Urban and cultural landscape photographer Simon Roberts photobook Merrie Albion – Landscape Studies of a Small Island is another visual investigation of his homeland, the encompassing urban landscape of the United Kingdom. That he chose a title which in old English would mean Merry Britain might imply that he is investigating the heritage of this country, perhaps with a nod towards the evil spirits of Nationalism. Happily it is anything but.

This book also draws on the time of his earlier investigating English rituals in 2007 that resulted in We English, subsequently the outer edges of the British urban landscape in Pierdom, as well as his time when he was commissioned to photograph the U.K elections of 2010. The book contains only photographs that until now have been unpublished. This is a compilation body of work that attempts to take a straight forward pulse on the many social changes that create the current fabric of this island nation. The on-going flux of those coming to this country from other places, a process which can trace its roots to the early colonial age of this nation, thus creating a melting pot of cultures. The pending political and economic changes of its disassociation from the European Union (E.U.).

Suffice to say, what might constitute current Britain is mash-up of the old with the new. As has been noted in the accompanying essays, Roberts landscape photography has attained a subtle trademark look; using a large format camera, non-romantic (aka factual, dead-pan) framing and frequently a viewpoint from a higher elevation that creates an interesting depth to his landscapes. The later due mostly in part to his use of the top of his motor-home as a camera platform. This camera position provides a pictorial framing that is broader in scope, but conversely, such as the Download Festival at Castle Donington, can also make him the center of attention.

The resulting photobook is complex and visually layered, much as his subject Merry Britain, and a delight to read. Recommended.

Other photobooks by Simon Roberts featured on The PhotoBook Journal: Pierdom, and We English.

Cheers!

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_1

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_2

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_3

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_4

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_5

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_6

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_7

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_8

Simon_Roberts-Merrie_Albion_9

May 31, 2018

Douglas Stockdale – Middle Ground / En Medio Tierra

00andA-middle-ground

Photographer:  Douglas Stockdale (born in Butler, PA; living in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA)

Self-published artist book of 31 images hand-bound by the artist in an accordion (leporello) presentation, yielding 66 pages (blank verso), attached to stiff covers with flip-over French fold; 8.5×6.75 inches; printed in four-color lithography by Dual Graphics, Brea, California; edition of 99 plus 5 artist proofs; © 2018

Text:  English and Spanish

Photobook Designer:  Douglas Stockdale

Notes: This innovative artist book by Douglas Stockdale brings to mind the parable “Before the Law” by Franz Kafka, in which a man is confronted by what seems to be an overwhelming obstacle and fails to overcome it, even though he could have, as we who are the readers readily understand. How often in life are we confronted by small barriers that can easily become seemingly overwhelming …

Here is a volume of innovatively presented and artfully sequenced freeway observations. The 31 photographs that Douglas Stockdale has arranged in leporello (accordion) fashion constitute a panorama of barriers. We sense the static moments of being stuck in stop-and-go traffic, repeated moments sufficient to take photographs of dividers put up for traffic purposes, with ‘beautification’ planters placed behind them. There is the aggravation of heavy traffic along the Interstate 5 route toward the border in San Diego; there is the annoyance and challenge of being separated from that which lies beyond the barriers. And we observe details: some houses, some palm trees, the national flag almost beyond reach, and other structures to which we can’t immediately relate. And yet there must be other people there … who and where might they be? And some of the barriers are much less than perfect, they show damage or are surrounded by debris. It is a less than perfect, seemingly endless constructed landscape.

So we can consider this project, which is a typology of barriers, a metaphor for the barriers and separators of all kinds that people wish to throw between and among us. Especially in our current moment in time there are many whose main task is to foment social, racial, and/or economic anger and pin it on the “others,” whether we are talking about ethnic, social, economic, or other groups.

Can we overcome these barriers? Of course we can. Look at Stockdale’s images: there are gaps one can squeeze through, there are small boards or a bit of sand to help us take the first step beyond, to let the middle ground lead us toward reaching a better understanding of those that may be different, yet almost within reach. In every country there are many ethnic, economic,  religious groups or segments of the population with somewhat different belief systems, individual preferences, or somewhat different shades of skin color that some wish to marginalize or not give the full respect they deserve. It is important to overcome such barriers and to take the all-important steps toward others. Truly united societies require respectful collaboration rather than splintering into subgroups, and Stockdale’s visual compendium can be an impetus toward overcoming barriers and obstacles.

This project invites each viewer to engage with the presentation and to find individual meanings. It is my guess that this volume, which has been given a bilingual slant but no artist admonition as to its interpretation, will become quite a collector’s item. I would advise you to get your copy while you can, as the edition is very small. For those of you who can make it to L.A. this weekend, Stockdale will give an artist presentation about this work at the closing reception of the exhibition on Saturday, June 2, at 4-7 p.m., Fabrik Projects Gallery, 2636 South La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA (near Culver City).

The PhotoBook Journal has previously featured or reviewed the following other books by Douglas Stockdale:  Ciociaria, In Passing, Pine Lake, Bluewater Shore, and Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book.

Gerhard Clausing

 

01-middle-ground.jpg

02-middle-ground.jpg

03-middle-ground.jpg

04-middle-ground.jpg

05-middle-ground.jpg

06-middle-ground.jpg

07-middle-ground.jpg

08-middle-ground.jpg

09-middle-ground.jpg

10-middle-ground.jpg

 

 

May 25, 2018

Anthony Hernandez – Beach Pictures, 1969 – 1970

Anthony-Hernandez-Beach_Pictures_1969-70_cover

Photographer: Anthony Hernandez (born Los Angeles & resides Los Angeles & Idaho)

Published by Silas Finch, NY, USA, 2016

Text: English

Printed chipboard over cloth end sheets, sewn binding, tri-tone black & white lithography, printed by Studley Press, Dalton, MA (USA)

Photobook designer: Kevin Messina

Notes:  A monograph of Anthony Hernandez’s earliest body of work created shortly after his two years of service in the U.S. Army, when he spent a tour of duty in Vietnam. His photographs appear humorous, poignant, yet there lurks a dark undercurrent. This body of work is not overtly political, but there are dark undertones as will it appears that his subjects are sleeping or resting, while incorporating enough ambiguity and lacking evidence that his subjects are actually still alive.

The prone individuals that Hernandez photographed on the beach may have been a cathartic response to his battle experiences in the Vietnam War. The wounded or dead soldiers & civilians would have had been laid out in similar prone positions. Even to the point that casualties in war have their faces covered similar in a very eerie way to those sunning themselves on the beach.

Hernandez is a west coast photographer who adapted a NYC street photographic style that is mashed with the west coast minimalist stylistic practice of Lewis Baltz. While working in Los Angeles on the left coast, he is thus perhaps lesser known than his East coast contemporaries of Arbus and Winogrand, yet still was anointed by Szarkowski at MoMA. As evident at this stage of Hernandez’s street photography career, he is using the full frame format of his 35mm film to great effect. Every square inch appears to be well thought out and visually working for the photographs selected for this publication.

Cheers,

Douglas

Anthony-Hernandez-Beach_Pictures_1969-70_1

Anthony-Hernandez-Beach_Pictures_1969-70_2

Anthony-Hernandez-Beach_Pictures_1969-70_3

Anthony-Hernandez-Beach_Pictures_1969-70_4

Anthony-Hernandez-Beach_Pictures_1969-70_5

Anthony-Hernandez-Beach_Pictures_1969-70_6

April 26, 2018

Pre-order; Douglas Stockdale – Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra

Middle_Ground_Book-dummy_4_cover

Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra (book dummy) 2018 Douglas Stockdale

As I just announced on my personal photo-blog Singular Images, I am very excited to accept pre-orders for my artist book Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra! Which is one of the reasons that I have not been providing book reviews for the past couple of weeks. The other wonderful reason for my absence is that the book publication will occur concurrent with the exhibition of this body of work at Fabrik Projects, a gallery located in Los Angeles (adjacent to Culver City), which opens May 5th and runs through June 2nd, 2018. The artist reception will be on Saturday, May 12th, so if you are on the left coast at that time, I hope you can join me from 6-8pm on the 12th.

Also, I was just notified by Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP), that two of the photographs from this project were selected for their third annual Fine Arts exhibition which will exhibit concurrently. This is a new experience for me!

This project investigates an urban landscape in a documentary style. Although this project was initially developed as a political satire to create a parody of “bigley” wall on the America”s southern border with Mexico, it has come to symbolically represent some issues that are more universal. This American landscape is a metaphor for political, economic, social, and cultural barriers and walls that people create to impede the progress and acceptance of others. If you are building or maintaining walls, you are not building bridges to acceptance. Aesthetically, this project has already been likened to a mash-up of Ed Ruscha’s “Every Building on the Sunset Strip” with Christo’s “Running Fence”.

The books will be ready to ship by the middle to end of next month. I am doing the leporello binding and it may take me a little while to complete each of the dozen connections required for these artist books.

So here are the artist book publication details:

Self-published, publication date; May 2018 (concurrent with exhibition at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles, CA)

Stiff covers with flap-over French fold, Leporello book design

Pages: 66 pages (blank verso)

Photographs: 31 Images, color

Printing: 4 color lithographic printing

Leporello binding: hand-bound by the artist

Book design and layout by the artist

Artist book, edition size 99 + 5 A/P

Book trim size: 6-1/2” x 8-1/4” (165mm x 210mm)

Acknowledgements & Colophon, without essays, captions or pagination

Text: English and Spanish

Cover paper: 18 pt C1s Tango

Interior paper: 80# GPA Uncoated Text (Gloss)

Retail price: $59.50 USD (CA residents add sales tax)

I can process your book orders through Paypal. Until May 5th, for those in the United States, the price will include my shipping costs. For outside the U.S. I need to add an additional $15.00 to the cost of the book for shipping (if it turns out that it is more, I will absorb it).

Note: since the book will not been printed until next week, the book images are from my book-dummy.

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_top_view_leporello_design

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_1

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_2

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_3

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_4

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_5

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_6

March 14, 2018

Michael Dalton – The Great Falls

Filed under: Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:22 pm

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_cover

Photographer: Michael Dalton (born Marshfield, MA & resides in MA)

Published by Peperoni Books, Berlin, DE copyright 2017

Text: English

Hard cover book, sewn, printed by Wanderer, Germany

Photobook designer: Kiran Puri

Notes: I was fortunate to share a table at the Medium Festival in San Diego last October adjacent to one that Michael Dalton was hosting and able to leisurely discuss his first book, The Great Falls, in a little more detail. Thus learn that his beautifully rendered photographs were created with an 8×10” camera and that a number of the images in his photobook are essentially contact prints from those large sheets of film. And that the double exposures were created purposefully, allowing for some serendipity that results from this exposure experimentation.

This photobook is a gritty biography of a post-industrial city; Patterson which is located in a region of New Jersey that has seen better times. Dalton provides ample visual evidence that at one time Patterson was a bustling city of commerce that probably thrived on the flowing river and falls within its boundaries as evidenced by the large industrial size remnants.

His documentation of the debris, trash and abandoned buildings appear to haunt his urban landscape as he takes an unkind eye to his subject. Perhaps the city of Patterson is indeed in a deteriorating state and this project might be construed as another “ruin-porn” documentation common to post-industrial blight. Even his lyrical photographs have discerning elements; a rusting metal container, shattered glass, green slime and graffiti that belie a tranquil landscape.

Nevertheless, Dalton captures an undercurrent of resilience for this tough area, photographing individuals and couples who call this city home. Perhaps due to the fact that his subjects know that they are being photographed (hard to sneak a photograph when using a giant 8×10” camera), they do not appear to show the strain of living in the troubled environmental conditions that encompass this region. His subjects are standing amid the trash, perhaps in part resignation to the surrounding conditions, yet showing indications of affection and that provides some element of hope that these individuals will persevere.

Likewise, the book ends with a series of green and lush landscape photographs that implies that nature, and perhaps mankind, is slowly reclaiming this region and that that an order and balance may yet be restored.

This photobook is solidly produced, rendering the color photographs with clarity and dignity, a delightful book to hold and read.

Cheers,

Douglas Stockdale

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_1

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_2

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_3

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_4

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_5

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_6

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_7

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_8

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_9

Michael_Dalton-The_Great_Falls_10

October 15, 2017

Dronescapes: The New Aerial Photography from Dronestagram

00-dronescapes.jpg

Editor:  Ayperi Karabuda Ecer

Publisher:  Thames & Hudson, New York, NY, © 2017

Essays:  Eric Dupin (foreword); Ayperi Karabuda Ecer (introduction)

Text: English

Hard cover, sewn binding, four-color printing, 288 numbered pages; 250+ captioned color images; 10×8.5 inches; drone user guide, author biographies, supplementary image references, index of photographers and websites, index of locations; printed in China by C&C Offset

Photobook designer:  Michael Lenz, Draught Associates

Notes:

It seems that drones (quadcopters and other multirotors) and images taken with them are everywhere these days. The website Dronestagram was founded in 2013 to provide a place where extraordinary images taken with such small aircraft by their owners/remote pilots/photographers can be shared. It should be noted that a few years later, when certain communities are severely restricting the use of drones because of some irresponsible owners, this website as well as this volume advocate and give instructions for their effective and safe implementation.

This printed volume of images selected from Dronestagram, edited by Ayperi Karabuda Ecer, provides us with some 250 bird’s-eye views of the world, in ways that might otherwise be impossible, since we do not have large birds that take us to the skies allowing us to ride on their backs to create such images, nor do most of us have access to personal mini-helicopters (yet!). Each image is accompanied by a short or expanded caption regarding its location and story if applicable, as well as the exact latitude, longitude, and altitude at which it was taken. The editor has divided the work into nine thematic areas, constituting chapters of the book, with the following titles: Drones Are Us (playful, humorous); Close (unusual angles); Urban; Fauna (animals); Probe (environment); Space; Pattern/Shadow (images emphasizing composition and seen as more artistic rather than straight-forward); Move (sports and leisure); and I Do (wedding photography). This is quite an assortment of topics to cover; examples are reproduced below, in the order of the chapters. At times, the volume provides biographical features on some photographers and further explanations as well.

The images include startlingly different ways of telling stories, often taken from directly above the subject(s) to provide dynamic perspectives, especially when making good use of shadows. Other images provide startling angles, for instance, combining a close-up of the top of a high-rise building with the ground below as background. Still others could also have been taken from a small plane or helicopter as well, if it were not for the safety issues already discussed. I would hope that as the use of this technology matures, sequences of shots would also be created to allow the viewing of a story from several angles (virtually) simultaneously.

A most interesting volume to give to someone who treasures this new form of aerial photography, as well as to others who appreciate seeing things from new perspectives! This book is a finalist in the 2017 Lucie Photo Book Prize competition.

Gerhard Clausing

01-dronesapes.JPG

02-dronesapes.jpg

13-dronesapes.JPG

14-dronesapes.jpg

05-dronesapes.jpg

06-dronesapes.jpg

07-dronesapes.jpg

08-dronesapes.jpg

 

October 12, 2017

Tymon Markowski – Flow

Filed under: Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:32 pm

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_cover

Photographer: Tymon Markowski (born Kraków & resides Bydgoszcz, Poland)

Self-Published & Print Edition (400), Limited Edition (100): Bydgoszcz, Poland, copyright 2017

Text: English & Polish

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_Leporello

Hard cover, Leporello (Concertina) layout, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed by Chromapress (Bydgoszcz, Poland)

Photobook designer: Katarzyna Kubicka

Editor: Joanna Kinowska

Notes: Tymon Markowski’s self-published photobook Flow is a book design that conceptually emulates his subject, a leporello that unfolds almost as continuously as the Brda River. This is a classic design in which form follows function.

The captions for each photograph, English and Polish, are provide on the reverse of the photographs, and due to the leporello design, requires the viewer to physically flip from the front to the back (verso) to attempt to comprehend the photograph/caption relationship. As Markowski states “I wanted to hide the captions so you can follow the two stories – one created by the pictures, and second created by text….It was extremely important to me that the viewer first see the pictures that provokes questions and is is my habit to create a caption that may resolve a mystery

Markowski follows the small river Brda to capture the citizens of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship as this river meanders to the Vistula River in the city of Bydgoszcz, the eighth largest city in Poland.

This is an investigation of the culture of this region, frequently tongue-in-cheek, providing subtle humor as he gently pokes fun at his adopted city and adjacent country side. A fireman stands in the midst of a green forest with his limp hose line attempting to practice his trade of extinguishing a forest fire without benefit of either water or a fire to quench.  A kayaker navigates a stream of water that is so absurdly narrow that the Kayak barely fits and one wonders how he was able to get to this place and where he is going next. The accompanying captions provide documentation of these tasks in an understated matter-of-fact style that belies a dry wit.

The ability to spread out the book’s interior photographs, a key attribute of the book’s Leporello design, also signifies a potential interconnectedness of this large community and points to the underlying social order.

Cheers,

Douglas Stockdale

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_1

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_2

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_3_captions

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_4

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_5

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_6

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_7

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_8

Tymon_Markowski-Flow_9

October 6, 2017

Alejandro Cartagena – A Guide to Infrastructure and Corruption

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_cover

Photographer: Alejandro Cartagena (born Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic & resides Monterrey, Mexico)

The Velvet Cell: Berlin (Germany) copyright 2017

Essays by Ximena Peredo

Text: English

Pair of books; hard cover, embossed exposed boards, sewn and taped binding, and a stiff cover, saddle stitch, both four-color lithography, Edition of 450, signed and numbered, printed in Taiwan

Photobook designers: Alejandro Cartagena, Fernando Gallegos & Eanna de Freine.

Notes: I was fortunate to meet up with Alejandro Cartagena while he was visiting in Los Angeles for his exhibition opening shortly after the release of this book. Part of his artistic practice is to document what interests him and allow that body of work to accumulate over time to speak to him.

He has been watching the urban sprawl that transforms open country side into suburbia which eventually is assimilated by every the expanding cities. Mexico, as in the In the United States, when freeways, railways and other public works have been determined to be necessary by the city planners, this construction takes precedent over individual land ownership and rights, the eminent domain rules are evoked.

Thus a nice home or thriving business may find itself beset with an emerging and unplanned esthetic, if not economic, crisis. Regretfully this is not a new cultural issue and photographically this type of social-economic urban transformation was documented by Atget in Paris as early as the late 1800’s.

Once a back yard that was open to the neighbors, now has a view transpired to that of the freeway wall or into a highway underpass. With the proximity of a new roadway is the accompanying noise, traffic, litter and related personal safety concerns of a high traffic location. All for the greater good or as stated by Cartagena, “Their view is a permanent view of “progress””.

The publication is divided into five chapters, four of these in the larger book, the fifth in the smaller accompanying book; The Road you Take, The Dispossessed, Where to Cross, Structural Corruption and Epilogue. The viewer is taken on an irregular journey of the landscape of change, the social impact of the resulting changes, ugly personal overpasses meant to help resolve the social changes and the closed walls of the city planners the implied blindness to the changes that are either contemplating or implementing. The Epilogue has gruesome images of people who have been hung from the overpasses, which are difficult images to look at, images that have more tolerance in being displayed in the Mexican media, but perhaps no more terrible than the new man-made urban landscape that is subtly attacking the social fabric.

In conclusion from an interview of Cartagena with Eanna de Freine; “The new infrastructure needs to be built and nothing will stand in its way. No house, business or group of people. It cuts through the landscape and urbanscape to impose its progress. There is a power in infrastructure. Power imposes things on those without power… I was also interested in showing how the new eats up what was there before, i.e. the buildings, advertisements, roads and parking lots.  The new infrastructure doesn’t care for anyone but itself.”

Other books reviewed include: Rivers of Power, Before the War, and Carpoolers

 

Cheers, Douglas Stockdale

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_1

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_2

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_3

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_4

 

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_6

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_7

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_8

Alejandro_Cartagena-A_Guide_to_Infrastructure_and_Corruption_9

August 31, 2017

Algis Griskevicius – TADA

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_cover

Copyright 2016 Algis Griskevicius

Photographer: Algis Griskevicius (born & resides Vilnius (Lithuania))

Publisher: NoRoutine Books (Lithuania)

Essay: Leonidas Donskis

Text: Lithuanian and English

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_inside_front_cover

Hardcover book, sewn and exposed tape binding, black & white lithography, glued insert booklet (saddle stitch), contact proof print, printed by UAB Druka, Klaipeda, Lithuania

Photobook designer: Gysis Skudzinskas

Notes: Algis Griskevicius includes in his artistic practice both paintings and photography, and his photobook TADA (THEN) is a series of photographs created between 1985 and 1995 as potential source material for his paintings. Some of the photographic prints have been altered to further refine Griskevicius’s visual concept for a painting, although from the essay by Donskis, the paintings may not have ever been completed. Thus the question Donskis raises; are these photographs works of art or unfinished works in progress, such as incomplete works by the paintings and sculptures of the early masters?

There is a rawness to the printed images, appearing unfinished and the additional marks adds to the mystery. When viewing Griskevicius’s paintings (not included in the book), there is evidence that some aspects, whether the composition, shapes or lines have made its way as a latent image. The worn photographs have a vernacular appearance, as though these were not intended to be “artistic” and indeed the raw recording of something of interest. The glued in booklet of 35mm black and white negative contract prints confirms Griskevicius’s interest in graphic shapes and lines as one of the constant themes that threads its way through the small images. This is an intriguing collection of thoughts that could be referenced as a potential source of imagination for the artist to draw on at a later date.

Cheers

Note: Recognized in a Lithuanian Book Completion as one of the Most Beautiful Lithuanian Books 2016 in the photo book category.

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_1

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_2

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_3

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_4

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_5

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_6

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_7

August 5, 2017

KayLynn Deveney – All You Can Lose Is Your Heart

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Gerhard Clausing @ 1:39 pm

00-Deveney.jpg

Photographer:  KayLynn Deveney (born Albuquerque, New Mexico; resides in Northern Ireland and New Mexico [summers])

Publisher:  Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg & Berlin, Germany; © 2015

Essays:  KayLynn Deveney, Jean Valjean Vandruff, Hank Stuever

Text:  English

Cloth-bound sewn hardcover; 128 numbered pages, 62 full-color illustrations; 20×24 cm, printed in Germany

Designer:  KayLynn Deveney and Kehrer Design

Notes: 

The “typology” approach – series of objects that are similar yet different, and their interesting variations – has been around in photography since the exhibition and publication of New Topographics in 1975. Here at The PhotoBook Journal, we reviewed the industrial typologies of the Bechers in 2009, dealing with the works  At Museo Murandi  and Basic Forms of Industrial Buildings, as well as applying the same principle to other man-made structures in landscapes in our 2010 review of New Topographics (an excellent short overview of some of the genre’s history). That work was mostly monochrome, thus visually somewhat removed from our everyday life as we experience it in our current super-saturated current world of smartphones and selfies.

So here we find ourselves in the era of typology revisited – photographer KayLynn Deveney visits “storybook ranch houses” in the Western United States more than half a century after they were built, in order to observe what has happened in the meantime, resulting in a typological study of latter-day user treatments. This is a documentary and a sociological assignment, to be sure; many of the houses have changed hands a number of times in the interim, and a variety of people have left their mark on these buildings that once represented the homes that middle-class buyers were encouraged to dream about. As she states in the introduction on page seven, “the photographs of the houses come to stand in as metaphorical family portraits.”

It seems that color images are the best way to document these changes: plants (some of which outdo the relatively drab structures in color and size), seasonal decorations, cars and trucks, pets or statues of pets, and pottery, add some warmth to a generally alien and distant architecture of kitschy sameness that nevertheless has the effect of conveying or providing some simulated folk-world-related comfort. We marvel at the variety of ways that residents have added touches of individual meaning to their homes. In addition, there are a few double-page spreads featuring two similar houses in different locations, or two treatments of portions of the same house. The locations of the homes are noted in their captions.

This volume also greatly benefits from an essay by Hank Stuever on “Dream Homes” that explains the architecture from the perspective of the culture of its time, and delves into the application of a fairy-tale approach to people’s homes in an age of nuclear anxiety. The essay gives us an idea regarding the dreams and hopes of buyers of times gone by, and how the dream-fulfillment was orchestrated by architects and builders of the middle of the 20th century, as well as how it was implemented in several areas of the United States. “All you can lose is your heart” was an advertising slogan meant to entice families (especially the “lady of the house”) to purchase such homes that were somewhat at odds with the environment for which they were built. The comments by the architect, Jean Valjean Vandruff, regarding the concept and history of these “Cinderella Homes,” along with reprints of the original advertising and an exterior design drawing, also provide some important background information.

A very interesting study indeed! I am hoping that KayLynn will apply her formidable visual scouting prowess to similar projects of homes and their culture in Northern Ireland and other places!

Gerhard Clausing

01-Deveney.jpg

02-Deveney.jpg

03-Deveney.jpg

04-Deveney.jpg

05-Deveney.jpg

06-Deveney.jpg

07-Deveney.jpg

08-Deveney.jpg

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.