2020 Quarantine Collection
Over the last few months, while sequestered, I came across a few works of which I was happy to purchase and felt the need to say a few words about each.
Each volume is around 30 pages and are from a widely dispersed group of artists: San Diego to Paris with stops in Ohio, Baltimore and the California desert. Each offering a unique view of their world and, in the case of Jodie Hulden, a world gone by.
Social Distancing by Matt Day is a day-to-day look at Chillicothe, Ohio. I really enjoy these quotidian views of hometowns like Matt provides. I watch his YouTube channel and enjoy his quiet and contemplative look at photography. Matt's a film guy, Leica mostly, and it's easy to skip the gear talk in favor of his artist's approach to photography. Often he'll bring out a stack of books he's picked up and give a brief review, thus sustaining my interest in his channel. The profits from his book, Social Distancing, were donated to a local food bank, all the more reason to buy the book.
American Landscapes by pj finn. PJ resides in the southern California desert near Joshua Tree National Park and has an eye similar to Matt Day for expressing his locale thru photography. Although PJ's views are wider, expansive and certainly more arid he shows the same aesthetic for visualizing his surroundings and bringing you into his world with imagery laid bare. What you get is what he sees and there's a stark honesty about how he sees his environment. Having been to similar places in Anza-Borrego and the Mojave deserts I feel a connection to these images; they resonate.
Still by Patrick Joust. I came across Patrick Joust's work via Ibarionex Perello's podcast, The Candid Frame. He was an interesting interviewee and since he was from Baltimore I felt the nudge of a distant connection. I grew up in Maryland and visited Baltimore a number of times so I hoped to have a connection remindful of a past life. His work didn't do that but I found it suggestive of a part of my history nonetheless. Patrick works at night, in the inner city, with a large format camera (4x5 I think). Some of his scenes make you nervous for the photographer as he works in places that don't look completely safe. The color images are on the dark side with spot of light from storefronts or homes that cast an eerie glow. If nighttime street scenes are what you're looking for then Patrick Joust is your guy.
Les Chaises by Lo Kee. I found Lo Kee (pseudonym) on Flickr and continue to enjoy his B&W work in the streets of Paris. Naturally they tend to be low key exposures. He produces images one finds wandering the streets of a any major city but it seems more special being Paris. Les Chaises is a small book of the many chairs he finds in what looks like city parks throughout Paris. I love collections like this and typically become bored with my own attempts before I have large enough collection to consider publishing. Lo Kee has made a few volumes of selected subjects like this and though I went with chairs I could have chosen any of them and been equally impressed and satisfied.
Left Behind by Jodie Hulden. I've saved this collection for last because it gave me the most surprise and pleasure upon receiving it. This atmospheric collection of images from Bodie State Park in California's eastern Sierra is just a beautiful book. Simple in its composition and layout, graceful in its delicate tones, it summons a time we'll never see again. A one time mining town that was abandoned and left as was for most of the buildings. Bodie has been preserved; thankfully so for artists like Jodie who have mined its textures, colors and history. There is an introduction by George DeWolfe followed by 30 beautifully lit, nearly pastel images that work so well together. I hope I can do as well some day.