More the the longest and most unwieldy title for a photobook ever, Alan Huck’s I Walk Towards the Sun Which is Always Going Down is his partially fictional chronicle of some amount of time spent living in and roaming around Albuquerue, NM, turned into a sort of novelistic meditation on place and photography.
Weaving together his photographs—mostly black & white with some color scattered throughout—with personal reflections, quotes, and snatches of poetry, I walk… Huck has made something that’s part photobook, part memoire, and all something that I both wish I had made and think I might possibly have the ability to get close to.
Unlike Corbeau, which I recently reviewed and said I couldn’t even imagine making something so engaging, I walk… is right up my street, as they say. It’s not meant to be anything really universal or reaching towards anything particularly personal. Instead, it’s all about Huck and his meanderings, both on foot and in thought. Sure, he’s made something that gestures towards the universal—everyone walks, and most everyone walks some in places with which they have limited familiarity—but is entirely rooted in his personal experience and personality.
He quotes liberally, from sources as varied as Michel de Certeau and Andrei Tarkovski, Italo Calivo and W.G. Sebald, D.H. Lawrence and Bugs Bunny, and his photographs are of the post-Eggleston, Democratic Forest world, where anything is photographable, showing the back alleys and side roads of Albuquerque. There’s little of any inhabited-looking place, none of the skyscrapers or downtown buildings, few buildings at all, though, looking again, there are more than I remember. Sometimes, some bits of the lower buildings appear in the distance; sometimes he wanders down into a neighborhood or behind a building, but mostly it’s official and unofficial trails, some paved, and the sort of infertile land in unused parts of the city, exactly the sorts of places I would wander, and do, more or less…
Huck begins his book with a handful of quotes about… what else? Beginning: “Begin at the beginning… then stop.” “Begin anywhere.” “The sole of my shoe was beginning to come apart at the heel…” (Lewis Carrol, John Cage, Huck.) and then it’s all about walking around. He mentions the place he rented, all the books on the shelf, some of which he later quotes, and one he later shows held in a hand, I’m guessing something like a selfy. And this hand, arm and part of a leg is the closest he gets to a portrait. A human shadow appears in an earlier image, and he mentions stopping to talk to a man with an antelope horn horn who doesn’t seem to interested in talking. Other than that, there are no other people in Huck’s Albuquerque, and I get the feeling that, other than the Bugs Bunny joke, he could’ve made the book most anywhere, as long as it was out of the way.
And that sorta makes it for me. There’s
Overall, I walk toward the sun which is always going down rates a highly recommended 4.5 stars.
Mack is sold out, and I’m not surprised: Huck’s book came out nearly two years ago at time of writing. But you can find copies at the usual source(s), and for not a whole lot more than they sold new. After all, it’s a paperback, somewhat reminiscent in design and feel to that group of Bukowski reprints that came out in the mid 1990s, but without the deckled edge, and if memory serves. It feels great in the hand, and reads beautifully.
Interestingly, I had trouble finding it at Bookfinder. Searching by author “Huck” and title “I walk towards the sun” gave me two results, both with some German in the description and both in the UK, so I turned to ISBN. The ISBN in the back of my copy of the book is 978-1-912339-58-7, which is Brad Feuerhelm’s Dein Kampf… Mack has the ISBN as 978-1-912339-46-4, so I’m guessing there was a misprint somewhere… hopefully it’s not in the whole run and my copy is extra special for this, though that doesn’t matter much: I’ll be holding on to this one, no question.