Look closely at the cover of Anil Mistry’s ‘GAH!,’ and you might just end up uttering the title without even thinking about it… and if you miss the fun stuff on the cover, by about page 6, you’ll be “gah”-ing on almost every page…
The mostly street photography-style images vary between straight shots of cringe-worthy scenes—a stuffed dog toy vomiting its stuffing; a grinning/scowling dual portrait of a chubby boy as Rambo (from the second and third films, not the original PTSD-afflicted John Rambo); a lurid advertisement for “Ready to eat sausages & ham”—and digitally manipulated photographs—the three legged person on the cover; older men with grotesquely enlarged noses; a styrofoam container of fish, each with way too many eyes googling out at you.
It’s page after page of hypercolored humanity in all its faded glory, and overall a really good time. I wasn’t always sure if the photograph was altered or not. Could the older man’s nose or feet really be that big? Does that photobooth really proclaim the death of God? There’s a consistency of vision (and skill with Photoshop) here that evens everything out just right, and totally on-theme.
‘Gah!’ appears to still be available, and despite being limited to 50 copies. You can order direct from Mistry, via email. While digital interventions (read: manipulations beyond what can be accomplished in basic-level Capture One Pro) aren’t really part of my interest, ‘Gah!’ is great fun and well worth the $14 (or whatever £8 converts to).
Apparently, ‘Gah!’ is the first in a series Mistry calls “Unusual Eye.” If you hunt around, it seems he runs a group with that name on the effbook that I would join if I participated in the effbook. As yet there are no other books in the series, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.