November 8, 2008

Who We Were

The guys behind Square America, a site that collects and curates vernacular photography, have put together a super book called Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America. The book displays the humble photographs with great respect (generally one per page), at close to actual size. Snapshots are often accompanied by bits of text written on their backs. The combinations are sometimes mysterious, often poetic, occasionally tragic—tiny puzzle stories.

While the photographers in Who We Were are mainly anonymous, photographs sometimes appear to be naive echos of well known images by Man Ray, Dorothea Lang, Frielander, Eggleston, etcetera... Books like this can feel scattershot, but the sharp curatorial team behind this collection have culled through countless images to create a thought provoking volume I'll definitely be returning to again and again.

"October 31, 1910-Plainview, Nebraska I hope you won't laugh yourself sick at the picture on this card, it is only a picture of myself in a mirror taken by myself."

posted at 01:22 AM by raul

Filed under: photography

TAGS: america (4) history (5) photography (58) snapshot (2) vernacular (14)


11/09/08 03:49 AM

I can't wait to see this book, thank you so much for drawing it to my attention.

Your point about curatorial care and choice--so spot on.

There is a wonderful epiphany at the end of the HBO miniseries, "John Adams", where Paul Giamatti, playing Adams, says, that lately, as an old man, he sees something small and his imagination explodes.

11/13/08 12:53 AM

This sort of reminded me of an alternate universe sort of way...

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