selections from "americanistan"
By qi peng
13 Feb 2008
Even before I found out who Stephen Shore was this year (never heard of him before 2008), I was fairly interested in creating an encyclopedia photo book about what America was about. However, this project would be no Gerry Winogrand random shooting gallery type of approach but more like William Eggleston's Guide which remains my primer on a postmodern construct of what a photo narrative ought to say. It may look random on its surface but the story line is hidden in everyday, poetic imagery.
"americanistan" ought to read like a poem by wallace stevens, abstract in its context yet drawing the viewer in with its concrete textures and sonic quality of the image itself. The tension between the abstract and the prosaic is a consistent them within my "haphazard" approach to photo editing. I found myself wanting to work on a "new guide" to American life in a memory type of way.
The finished project will have approximately 100-400 (if a separate book of outtakes is acceptable to a future publisher) photographs total in an artist's book format and will be a capturing of the slice of life in a conceptual artist's type of way. Sometimes the viewer may not understand the inherent qualities of the photo at first but the person would need to look at the photograph spatially, in and out of the context with the other photos being posted as well.
"americanistan" is like a personal journey a la Kerouac. It's my jazz narrative and love song to a country which I may not always agree with its values but appreciate on a profound level from the crazy heart of a guy with an artistic bent. Sometimes we tend to overlook the little things which count in our lives. However, I do remain emotionally distant and of course rather emotional involved at the same time. Photography allows that physical and mental distance to be close and far away at the same time.
Please let these photographs speak for themselves. The shaman-like magic of the hidden jumbled narrative like an improvisation will sound each clarion note to the world of viewer who may have the perforce to dig underneath the surfaces of our commonplace lives being swallowed by mass communication and billboard cliches. This is not the America I choose to live in... the narrative is the color carried from each successive photo...
Note: I will be compiling a complete version of this book and will be sending this off to photo book publishers later on this year...