Brought HOME, by Timothy Archibald, home today.
Will be spending the weekend inserting the original print that comes with each copy, wrapping and packing and getting to the post office.
All the Special Editions are sold out. There are still regular editions available. Pick one up.
An excerpt from ATTACK AND CONFUSION / ASLEEP AND WAKING UP . . .
THE INFAMOUS BONNEY
may 9, 2010
I first met Jimmy Bonney in the summer of 2007. Down on the corner where I shoot USER.
Jimmy was on a stolen bike, was high, was looking, as usual, for the main chance. Jimmy was also very funny and full of energy and good humor. He’d been on the street or in penitentiary for 24 years, since he was 16 years old. He’d been using drugs for as long.
I met Jimmy a few more times that summer and again the following year. He always came over and tried to bug me. Not in a violent or malicious way. He liked fooling around. That’s just the way he was. Funny.
Then, a week or so ago, on a Sunday morning, out of the blue, I get a phone call. It’s from a woman named Lucie. She wasn’t quite sure she had the right number. She was trying to reach a photographer. “I’m a photographer”, I told her. She asked if I knew a guy named Jimmy Bonney. I told her I did. I told her I had photographed him and that I have often thought of him since we first met.
She told me she knew him, was helping him. She told me that he has been straight for almost 2 years. And she told me that he has thought of me, too. I asked her if she would ask him if we could get together.
We did. Get together.
Jimmy talked for 2 hours, told his history, both ancient and modern. Told me that the folks at Harvest House had taken him in, had been patient and let him fuck up a few times before he decided, on his own, to leave drugs and crime and the street behind. He told me he’s been sober for 21 months and ten days. He told me that he went from a grade 3 level of education to getting his high school equivalency in 9 months. He told me he now has a driver’s license. He still carries scars, both physical and psychological, from his life. But they are healing.
So, as I get ready to go to Toronto for the opening of USER, as I think about photography and its uses and abuses, as I think about how, so often, what I do feels so useless, I’m left with this moment in my mind. I’m left thinking, despite myself and my non-sentimental feelings about this life, that all is not lost.
From ATTACK AND CONFUSION:
STORY, april 8, 2007
I stopped by a garage in Westmoreland, California. Met Mando and his coworker. We talked about the weather, the war and stuff like that. I was totally struck by Mando’s face. I really wanted to take his picture. After a while I asked him if I could. He was quite reserved, almost shy, and told me, “No”.
Now, usually when someone says no to my request to shoot them I say, “Fine, no biggie”, or something along those lines. But this guy’s face was too interesting for me to give up so easily. So I said to him, “That’s okay. I can’t help it if you’re a pussy”. I figured I’d either get the shot or get a lug wrench upside the head.
He looked at me and said, “Okay, just let me go wash my face”.
I liked his face dirty but settled for what he offered. While he was in getting cleaned up his coworker said to me, “You know why he’s letting you take his picture? Because you called him a pussy”.
I said, “I know”.
And here's a page spread . . .
from ASLEEP AND WAKING UP:
PAPERWORK, december 5, 2010
Steph and I made our first foray out into the straight world; the first of what will be many trips to many rooms in institutions that have interviews and waiting lists and criteria. We went to get some papers signed.
Now, I’m a portrait photographer and what you will see here, as Stephanie and I help each other, will be set-up portraits that we’ll shoot as this project slowly wends its way towards the outside, straight world. Towards help.
And if it seems a little bit fucked up to be serializing this trip here on drool, if it seems odd to be setting up portraits as we, Steph and I, move through this maze, all I can say is: “I know what you mean”.
But you need to know that Stephanie and I have had the discussions, we believe what we are doing is right. In this case the camera is a catalyst. We have no idea what will happen, what shape this thing will assume. In a way we’re both in over our heads . . . I’ve never done anything like this before and Steph has never made steps towards help. But we’ll do our best and see what happens. The future is unwritten.
And here's a page spread . . .
HOME, by Timothy Archibald, began as a Tumblr called Stereoscopy.
A series of photos, mostly diptychs, mostly of his 2 kids, often with writing, shot with a smart phone, while his marriage was dissolving. I followed that Tumblr as it was unrolling and was struck by the whimsy, the slight mindfuck, the vague reference to photo history and a few other threads I couldn't pin down.
In a way it was kind of like when I was blogging LIVE THROUGH THIS: a series of dispatches being posted more or less as events unfolded. Minutia, side tracks, wrong turns. Raw material that also stands as a thing unto itself.
I asked Tim if he might be interested in publishing it. He agreed and we set about giving it another form, turning it into a book.
Thus began a 2 or 3 month trip taken by email and Skype, Tim in San Fran, me in Kapital City, Kanada, our minds and aesthetic proclivities meeting somewhere in the middle . . . call it, geographically, Nebraska.
One of the things I like about photography, probably as much as (maybe even more than) taking photos, is editing them. Editing in the old-fashioned sense of choosing and sequencing. Having the raw material that was Stereoscopy and shaping it into a book which would turn that work into something else, into a . . . book, was big fun. Especially with Timothy on the other end, questioning, exploring, anchoring.
I'll leave it to Mr Archibald, at a later date, to talk about the process from his end. After all, process is a big part of what it is we do as photographers, editors, makers of books. I'll close here, though, by saying the book is very different from the original Tumblr, it's kind of melted down to an essence. I'm pretty sure it's more mysterious than the un-edited version, which might strike you as strange. Surely an edit should clear up mystery, eliminate chaff, point the way. But life's not like that. And HOME is about life as much as it's about anything.
Just got the PDF's of the covers. Thanks Lissa at BirdDog Design.
One of these will be "upside down" on the book, because one "side" of the book will "upside down", too. I'm told that's called a "tumble" in the publishing/book biz.
That way the subject matter of the book(s) will be attached, so to speak, but separate as well. One side being general thoughts, opinions, etc., about photography; the other side being from the journals I kept while I was shooting Live Through This.
Don't worry though . . . if you turn the book over, the side you're looking at will be right-side up.