Regardless of intended and perceived meaning, these are loving portraits with words that attempt to convey the pain of the woman [DeVille] loves. The work is very personal. It is satisfyingly personal and in earnest, an attempt to deal with suffering.
This isn’t a meta photobook review. That is to say, it’s not a photobook review about photobooks. And it’s not about me reviewing photobooks. It’s about the terror of stillness and that, “That’s what calls me to the Midwest,” writes Nathan Pearce in conclusion of his latest Midwest Dirt iteration.
These point and shoot snapshots that make up Married to America by Justin Clifford Rhody are unconcerned with American beauty, picturesque plateaus, the fog of golden hour, or road trip tropes. This marriage is more like beige linoleum, a toilet painted black and chipping, or a tin bust of our first American father. More like honesty than infatuation. More like fancy-up what we’ve got—ketchup on scrambled eggs.
“Making the leap was such a physical and social experience, but also an intensely interior and private one; your friends teased you until you did it, but then you’re all alone in that eternity between flight and splash.”
“I certainly believe in the importance of bearing witness to what stands before us (or as photographers, what we choose to stand before), while honoring that we may not know or understand what it is we are actually seeing, and may never.”
Remembrance is just as prevalent in Birmingham-based fine art photographers Jared Ragland and Cary Norton’s collaborative project GUSDUGGER—of which the series Where You Come From Is Gone is included—as it was integral to the 2016 political campaign slogan: Make America Great Again, but the two could perhaps not be further divided. If MAGA remembers a time we as Americans are to reclaim, then Where You Come From Is Gone remembers what we took and the places deconstructed to make this country what it is today.
“Before Hurricane Irma, I spent a week frantically throwing all of my belongings into plastic bags. […] I came to the obvious realization that most of us, myself included, have an unhealthy addiction to things. Trying to move and protect all of my belongings exhausted me so thoroughly that I simply left some things unwrapped. […] If I’ve learned anything from my subjects, it’s that we humans have a long way to go if we want to continue living on this planet, and we only have to look back a hundred years to understand that we are very capable of living without many of the things we think we ‘need'[.]”