I became aware of Juno Calypso‘s work several years ago, back during my early, digital days even. A few of her pictures from the Joyce and The Honeymoon series are in my inspiration file for their color and suggestion of (creepy, menacing) narrative, but my interest in her work preceded my photobook obsession and I missed out on picking up copies of her books and zines.
A few months ago, I heard her 2016 interview on Ben Smith’s ‘a small voice’ podcast, visited her website, and immediately ordered a second-edition copy of her zine What to do with a Million Years, and it’s more than I hoped for, even.
For Million Years, Calypso got access to a glamoursly creepy underground mansion built by former Avon director Girard “Jerry” Henderson in Las Vegas, and shot a series in her usual style: self portraits and stage-like interior shots, all somehow disturbing or unsettling, yet simultaneously deadpan. These occupy the middle third of the zine.
The first third is a collection of newspaper articles about underground mansions and a collection of period photographs of the house and an unknown social/corporate event there. The last third focuses on the 1970s and 80s cryogenic fad and its more prurient (and creepy) aspects.
Together, it’s a tale of excess and paranoia, of the poverty and loneliness of great wealth, and it fits in with Calypso’s previous work perfectly. It’s great.
Overall, What to do with a Million Years earns 4.3 stars.
I love Calypso’s ability to create whole narratives in a single image, and I’m thrilled to finally have some of her work in physical form. I’m glad I jumped on What to do with a Million Years when I did, as it’s now out of stock, and I’ll have to keep an eye on Calypso’s website and bigcartel store, and hope to find some new work soon.