‘Conspiracy of Cartographers: Issue 3’

For ‘Conspiracy of Cartographers’ Issue 3, Eric Swanger spent 3 weeks traveling what looks to be the western part of the midwest with a 4×5 field camera and a bunch of film, and he came back with a tale of loneliness and the ghosts that keep watch over the Badlands region.

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Bill Owens – ‘Suburbia’ (1999)

Bill Owens’ Suburbia became an underground, photo insider classic at the time of its original 1973 publication. This is the “New & Improved” 2002 edition, though I’m not quite sure what is new and/or improved about it.

If you’re unfamiliar, Owens cast his camera on the denizens of three communities Livermore, CA, while working as a staff photographer for the local newspaper. Owens collected quotes from many of his subjects (or, presumably, people just outside of frame) and the quotes appear below many of the photographs, earnest and honest and, now 45 years on, both laughable and wounding.

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Colin Jones – ‘Grafters’

I snatched up a(n extremely inexpensive) copy of Colin Jones’ Grafters after watching the Camera YouTube review some months ago. I think I paid less than $10 for it, shipped, which seems ludicrous for such a fine collection, and makes for both despair and thrill. Despair at the thought some/many/most of the books I bought new for full price will likely someday be remaindered for $10 or so; Thrill at the ability to pick up excellent, if older and used, photobooks for $10…

Anyway. Grafters (Phaidon, 2002) is a collection of Jones’ photographs of working classes in early 1960s Britain, the soon-to-be-demolished “slums” that look for all the world like tidy British row houses, children at play, the coal workers and ship builders at work and at leisure, and, not so strangely as you might imagine, ballet dancers at rest.

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