“Loose Shingles” is a B-Sides Box Set of outtakes, alternate takes, and other otherwise unpublished images from Ed Templeton’s archive. The B-Sides Box Sets are interesting things, sort of a cross between a portfolio of prints and a box of baseball cards. I’ve lumped them in to my “Photobook” category, but they’re really not books at all, or not like most, traditional sorts of books, anyway.
Each limited edition box set contains 47 photographs, plus front and back cover cards and a numbered title card. (My box set is number 556 of 1000, if you’re curious.) The back cover of the sets I have explains the box-set concept very well:
All photographers have a secret stash of photographs that float on the margins of published existence. Photographs that never quite fit into their current projects or the narrative of their latest book or show, but that are too good to be left unused. They persist: the photographers pull them out, year after year, they recognize them as great images that should be shared, but the photos somehow frustratingly defy their years of shuffling into categorization or conventional use.
This box set is those photographs, finally liberated from that file labeled Orphans & Misfits.B-Sides Box Set “back cover” card text, from Ed Templeton, Loose Shingles. Editions Editions, Oakland, CA, 2018.
Templeton’s Loose Shingles collects out- and alternate takes from a bunch of different zines and books (Teenage Smokers 2, Teenage Kissers, Deformer, Makeup Girls 2, Wayward Cognitions, Tangentially Parenthetical, Disneyland, Litmus Test, and Wires Crossed), some fashion shoots with The New York Times, Vogue, Junk Magazine, and a couple of ongoing projects (Wires Crossed and Memory Foam), plus about 10 photos that just never fit anywhere, and Templeton wrote titles and publication information (and made a few drawings) on the backs of all of the cards.
It’s really a cool set, and the tactile experience of flipping through the deck is really incredible. The size of the photos make viewing a particularly intimate affair. With a book or zine, the photos are usually large enough to view from a comfortable distance, and even show to someone. But with these trading-card sized images, you really have to get close to them, and both the images and the printing quality encourage really looking close.
Sure, a 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ card isn’t going to be able to contain a huge amount of detail, but the print quality is really excellent. I can see film grain and fine detail (like whisps of hair) easily, with the card less than a foot from my face, and these particular Templeton photographs reward close looking. They’re mostly black & white, probably Tri-X (if photos in his Hairdos of Defiance are any indication), and bursting with just about as much detail and interest as a 2×3 image could. (The images have a small border on all sides.)
The collection is more of a retrospective than a strict series, as one might imagine from the Outtakes & Misfits description, and this is maybe my only problem with them. Like all collections of photography work, I tend to prefer finished series, and it would be nice to have a similar box set of photographs that were made to be a box set, though this wouldn’t make any sense with the “B-Sides” title.