Unboxing Caleb Jenkins ‘American Eclipse’

Dateline August 21, 2017: a rare-ish, total eclipse sweeps the United States. For a few brief minutes, we focus less on our schisms and fancies, and unite under a darkening sky. Jenkins grabbed a roll of film* and went for a walk.

American Eclipse‘ is the result.

Now, I have no proof that it was just one roll. It could’ve been 5. But there are 27 images in this beautifully made little zine, and one tended to get 27 shots from consumer-grade rolls of Kodak film from the 1990s and early 2000s, so I assume.

A note on the ordering page mentions an “M3 with expired consumer Kodak film from the early 2000s,” so I just extrapolate from there.

The images are unpopulated streetscapes and detail shots, plants, buildings, with strange shadows from the partially obscured midday sun. Jenkins is based in Harrisonburg, VA, and they got better coverage there than we did in Dallas, for sure (or that my wife and I got down on the Gulf Coast of Texas, driving from Corpus up to Houston), but it didn’t get that dark, in VA either, judging from the photographs, though there is a sense of being eclipsed, or having been eclipsed, in the subjects Jenkins puts in front of his lens.

I expect there’s a double meaning that I won’t go into.

Jenkins hand-makes all of his zines to order, and the two (three) that I have are all well made, with a care and attention to detail that I’m really impressed with. The printing quality is good, the binding is simple and accomplished, and it all just works.

Concept
Content
Design

Overall, I’d give ‘American Eclipse’ 3.7 stars.

I ended up with two copies of ‘American Eclipse’ and so am willing to pass one off to you. Just shoot me an email if you want one. Or, if you want to support Jenkins’ work, hit up his shop. ‘American Eclipse’ and ‘All Over Now’ (reviewed here) are currently unavailable, but you can pick up one of his other zines for cheap.

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