Unboxing ‘Got to Go’

they call me piggy

i eat
brown sugar and whipped cream
nothing fills my emptiness

father says

why buy a cow if you can get the milk for free?

Got to Go is Rosalind Fox Solomon’s newest book from Mack. Much like THEM, it’s full of black & white, medium format photographs of deadpan and/or unfortunate expressions, uncomfortable situations and interactions, and raw human-ness on display.

In her interview with Blake Andrews, Fox Solomon says “I wrote all of the texts with the exception of extracts from songs. Many come from a cacophony of remembered voices of the child and the parent. There are also a few of my poems.” This phrase right here is what had me scrambling to buy the book, and I’m so glad I did. If I can make my pictures and words into something half as powerful as Got to Go, I’ll be happy.

The pictures span nearly forty years, from 1974 to 2012, pretty much as long as Ms. Fox Solomon has been photographing. There are hippies and yippies, naked in fields; there are socialites and suburbanites; there are people with physical disabilities and differences; there are baby dolls, adult-sized dolls (not mannequins), people in masks; religious rites and ku klux clan rallies. It all comes together and unsettles. Fox Solomon calls it a tragicomedy, and she’s not far off. Spot on, as a matter of fact.

Humans are a strange bunch. The things we get up to with our children, parents, brothers, friends, neighbors, selves… There’s nearly 40 years of it on display in this book.

Fox Solomon started photographing when she was 38. After 5 years or so, she started studying with Lisette Model, and you can see a bit of that influence in her work, though Fox Solomon is far more ruthless with her subject than Model. Fox Solomon spares no one and nothing.

Much like THEM, I’ll give Got to Go 4.5 for the solid concept, 5 for the content, and 4 for the Mack design and layout. I prefer the smaller size and texture of the paper in THEM, but the 5/6th slip cover and glossier paper lends a sarcastic sort of elegance to Got to Go that works very well.

Concept
Content
Design

So Got to Go rolls in with a solid 4.5.

Both THEM and Got to Go will stay in my collection for awhile, and I look forward to pulling them out for inspiration and motivation. After looking at these two books for a few hours, I walked to the masjid for prayer and saw photographs everywhere.

Got to Go is available direct from the publisher, and is worth a spot on your bookshelf.

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