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.
Category: Photobook/Printed Media Reviews
Photographs of burnt out car shells made in detail like insurance claims appear approximately one-third of the way into Colin Stearns’ all that cannot be said. Everything prior—brick walls, a wedding dress and tux on window display, wrought iron fences, flowers left as memorial tied to telephone poles, missing persons signs—read like a long prologue to the charred remains.
Other than poverty, what exactly the cigarettes (and alcohol and drugs) throughout Gravity Is Stronger Here help Dooney’s subject matter escape isn’t fully on display in the photographs alone. Not that poverty is not oppressive enough. Not that it doesn’t promote a feeling of ineptitude. The Browns appear to be stuck and at times seem to not know what to do with their situation any more than what to do in front of the camera. At times they feel very aware of the camera’s presence, mugging unnaturally through their drugs, God, boredom, and a whole lot of doing nothing. But in text and visual clues one learns that the Browns have internal and external struggles. They deal with difficult situations with great self-awareness and honesty. Accompanied by Libaire’s poems the sometimes overly dramatic feels sincere.
If what Grounded presents in pencil sketch is important, why not photograph it? Perhaps to say that a photograph can cut short clarity like it can bisect body parts and for better or worse we sometimes have to sketch in what is not there.
If Wipe Your Nose Sugar Boy is situated within Southern Gothic themes, Albain wastes no time getting directly to one of its most central themes—religion. […] Vanity plates and discarded signs indicate that Wipe Your Nose Sugar Boy is set at least in part, in Tennessee. A dead bird, tattered things covered in tarps, and overgrown fauna that follow suggest that in Albain’s South, the gospel is less about prosperity and more about the realism of muted gray tones.
Each short chapter of Maximum Sunlight is an account of an encounter with a resident of the town—anecdotal stories of drunkenness, lost jobs, skin heads, juke boxes, the government, and resilience. Each chapter is like the edges of a photograph—sometimes abruptly dissecting and at times cutting short what happened outside the frame or the rest of the story.
A place like Ohio leaves enough space for Ohio Country even if unintentionally, to be political—not necessarily about politicians and constituents but rather, regarding public affair. Like the subject matter in the context of the camera frame, Ohio Country exists in the context of political turmoil in America.
Macau 5.0 acts as summative detail of a place and its people as reported with about as much straight forward clear purposed objectivity as a camera can muster.
Photographs are product of seeing—another circle with an ephemeral horizon. McCarty’s instant film images like Emerson’s Romantic perspective, are a collective approximation uncertain of our individual existence whose perspective changes and creates a duality of what was and what is—a doubling back on reason.
[E]mpty plastic chairs and the photographs that conflate NYC urban with Texas rural suggest, even if lacking self-awareness, that adversity is universal and a rural to urban relationship has existed for a long while in America. Bleak and self-examining is in many ways, contemporary American photography. Muddy Waters by Jamie Brett wants something more—a good place to begin a journey when it is your own.
If a blast began all that transpires throughout the approximate 25 years that make up Half Life, then the photographs depict uncertain forced dispersing and settling of matter in its wake.
Early in Fortieth Parallel is included a photograph of Humboldt Sink in Nevada with the word “NOW” etched across the smooth sloping, sun-bleached plain. The difference between the nonpermanent quality of newsprint on which the image is printed versus photographs made by O’Sullivan to be included in a photographic archive is not lost while looking at this photograph and I consider what in fact it means to live in the present.
The quite photos of gentle sea side escarpments throughout most of A Silent Place lead from one landscape to the next and a rhythm—much like a causal walk—paces the series of thirty photographs.