Winter is a strange concept. Up in central Illinois and out on Long Island, it’s obvious: clouds roll in, cold winds blow, snow piles up and gets bulldozed into disgusting grey mountains that persist well into the spring. But down here in Texas, and depending on the year, there might not be much difference in weather from November all the way through to April: the sun keeps shining, maybe temperatures drift into the 60s or 70s, maybe we see a bit of ice in February or some snow in April that melts off by 10am, but otherwise, it’s closely identical with the summer, just not quite so hot.
From Noah Waldeck’s Instant Winter: Michigan and Instant Winter: Florida, it looks like winter, as a concept, pretty much the same there.
I preordered the two volume set back in April, and they arrived in early August. Subjectively Objective—Waldeck’s publishing imprint—did a nice job with these small volumes. The Images appear at slightly less than actual size (maybe 2mm off), and the color in the reproductions looks like Instax color.
Waldeck (and Subjectively Objective) focuses on the vernacular landscape, those everyday spaces that we mostly pass without thinking. There’s a beauty there, and Waldeck knows how to capture it, but what’s particularly interesting in these two books is the nearly complete lack of any human presence in these landscapes.
Sure, there are buildings, cars, roads, and other man-made objects, but there’s only one human figure in Instant Winter: Florida, and none in Michigan, unless you count the person driving a car in one frame. Sure, suburban backyards and vacant lots, but minigolf courses, beaches, in the bright Florida sunshine or grey Michigan winter, there’s nobody.
Wintertime is a lonely time, and Waldeck captured it beautifully, in two states 1100 miles apart.
Instant Winter: Michigan and Instant Winter: Florida are still available, as is the two volume set + print like I received. Noah Waldeck’s website has more of his work, and Subjectively Objective publishes regular, bi-monthly and monthly zines, featuring short projects by different photographers, based on features from their Instagram gallery, so be sure to check them out.