Monthly Archives: October 2014

William Eggleston – Chromes . . . A Benediction

William Eggleston, Steidl, Chromes, Coca Cola, offset printing

Looking at Eggleston’s “Chromes” produces an abstruse emotion in my gut. An impalpable flavor bellies up, almost landing on the tip of my tongue. I can’t put my finger on the taste. Saccharin doesn’t even come close. It evades any tangible description, leaving me stranded with a creative yearning of uncontrollable inspiration. I’ve witnessed Eggleston’s dye transfer photographs in person. I’m apt to say these plates produced by Steidl match, and maybe even rival, the potency of those prints. I can barely stand looking at these pictures. In fact, this weekend is only the second time visiting them since I bought the publication upon its release in 2011. It’s like chewing gum, that is so damn good, you have no choice but to swallow it, finish it off, sink it, because the taste is too good to bear. A benediction in disguise.

William Eggleston, Chromes, Steidl, photobook, offset printing, Michael Ast, Memphis

William Eggleston, Steidl, 3-volume set, offset printing, color photography, Michael Ast

From William Eggleston’s “Chromes”, published by Steidl, 2011

Long Branch by Michael Ashkin

I’ve spent a few inspiring sittings this week with Michael Ashkin’s just released “Long Branch”, published by A-Jump Books. Michael signed copies at the NY Art Book Fair on Saturday. The book is exactly the photographic dose I needed at the moment. The tonal quality of the images, consistent the whole length, is rendered perfectly on the matte pages. No strangers to bookmaking, A-Jump’s Ron Jude and Danielle Mericle are great scouts for understated bodies of work that resonate immensely in book format. No frills, smooth design, where the photographs speak for themselves. Ashkin shows us Long Branch, New Jersey in the beginning of this century, long after the Jersey beach town saw vacationing U.S. presidents and the upper societal crust. We see its blue-collar, residential state undergoing the encroaching infiltration of its conspiring government to transform the town into a polished resort town again, through the shady practice of eminent domain. Ashkin’s survey of the Long Branch is acute in detail, looking in all corners of the town, working with a tasteful visual looseness and curiosity that I prefer to formal photographic practice. . . I feel right behind the lens, investigating Long Branch with an unpretentious gaze. The juxtaposing of elements in some photographs is clearly made by a wise eye. I even caught myself chuckling at the subliminal absurdities of a few views. Rather than being engaged strictly in a documentary work, Ashkin’s images put me in a somewhat fictional state, in a strange land . . . . I love the experience.

Michael Ashkin, Long Branch, A-Jump, photobook, New Jersey, NJ, NJ Beach, New Jersey Beach, eminent domain, Michael Ast blog

Long Branch by Michael Ashkin (A-Jump Books, 2014)