After hearing about, and subsequently purchasing, ‘Midwest Dirt,’ I’ve been a fan of Nathan Pearce‘s work. I’ve picked up a few over the past couple of years, too many to link to, and his use of an Action Sampler-type camera for one zine continues to inspire.
So when I stumbled across a new Pearce zine, I jumped on it.
I wasn’t too impressed at first glance. The layout is a bit crowded and slapdash-seeming, and I wonder if Pearce had any input, or if the good people at DataPop (whoever they are) shoved everything into an online printing company’s order system and hit ‘Check Out Now.’
Looking again, and again, though, the photographs are all Pearce all the time, and the same things I appreciate about his other work are all here: the general malaise and sense of marking time that seems to pervade the prairie states. People drink beer and show off tattoos and hang around bars, small, downtrodden apartments, drive here and there, shoot or show off guns. They hang animal skulls, probably found while hanging around somewhere, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in the wee hours, on the living room wall. All the stuff I spent most of my teens and twenties and early thirties all enmeshed in, and that I have a sort of weary nostalgia for now that I’m married, in a nice house, with a corporate work-a-day job.
And after seeing all that, well, the layout maybe makes sense. There’s a sense of stasis, of being hemmed-in that I felt in my few years on the prairie, and that I have an idea is sorta ingrained in people who were born, grew up, and never left there. My friends there, if I have any left, might disagree, but the characters in High and Also Lonesome wouldn’t. One of the guys looks excited or surprised as he puts on his shoes in a hotel room. He’s probably the one person pictured who might be headed somewhere. Everyone else is right where they are, and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, ever.
High and Also Lonesome is available direct from DataPop, and Pearce has a couple of zines available through his website. (He usually has a few zines available on his website. It’s a good idea, and if my own foray into zine making wasn’t such an abysmal flop, I’d think on it. God knows I have enough work mouldering on hard drives and in negative sleeves to come up with plenty.) If I was still in BuyItNOW mode, I’d jump on the zines from Pearce,* and probably the other things from DataPop too, but I’ve sorta lost it, for now anyway. Don’t be like me.
*Edit: Weak willed… more Pearce fun on the way. Look out, someday.