Prototype Man” is a great little zine from 1980. I found Suzanne Winterberger thanks to In/Sights, and ran to pick up “Prototype Man,” which was pretty much the only thing I could find. It’s a great little zine from 1980, featuring some fun photographs of a rather generic-looking white college professor-type from 1980—shaggy hair, beard, glasses, jean jacket, light pants, too-large tie, low-top converse (I think)—paired with some tongue-in-cheek text. Good stuff.

He is a symbol of the New Understanding

He is

Protoype Man

He knows who he is…
He knows where he came from…
He knows how he must exist in this world…

A universal figure…
A heroic and a romantic figure…

… the ideal man…

A state of being for every man to strive towards…
A symbol of the new understanding…

… the Prototype Man…

He knows the rules and where he stands.

He is a good, masculine man who loves sports.

He would like to own property someday.

He feels that clean air contributes to a clean mind.

He avoids off-color comments in the company of the opposite sex.

He never stops looking for another way.

He is slowly acquiring a complete set of encyclopedias.

He enjoys a glass of wine before dinner.

He is exciting and impulsive, yet remains a logical thinker.

complete text of Suzanne Winterberger, “Prototype Man” zine, Lone Star Enterprises, 1980.

3/10 ain’t bad…

The pictures are fantastic and silly. I’d like to get into describing them, but I won’t be able to do them justice. The guy looks like a shlub, like I once imagined/hoped I would look like at, say, 35 or so, with a tenure-track job at a small university and a relaxed sort of self-effacing confidence, and nothing like what I ended up becoming, at 35, 40, and that I’m unlikely ever to reach, thankfully. Winterberger photographs him trudging up stairs, looking longingly out into the distance, looking focused, deep in thought, pensive. It’s hilarious, and I’m glad to have a copy.

Unrated.

Winterberger has an ancient-looking website with abstracts on some papers, a vitae, and, if you dig and don’t mind ancient photo galleries, a bunch of her wonderful photo projects.The work is fun, self aware, silly, and I really wish I could make some stuff like that… though, that said, it’s mostly the sorts of humor and academic silliness that was popular in the 1980s and early 1990s, in some parts of the US, mostly the country. I wonder if I like it so much for reasons of nostalgia. Still, the projects are well thought out, well-made, and loads of fun.

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