So a while ago I posted something about how I included two tender photos in America, neither of which were my favorites in the series of photos that were made in those moments. Frankly, they while they made it into the tight edit of the book they might not make it into I-95.
I mentioned that this was a difficult and painful part of putting the book edit together; including work that I know isn’t my strongest in order to tell the story best.
Jonathan Lipkin asked me, "If it tells the story, how is it not your strongest work?"
Here's the answer! All of my work comes back to being the images working autonomously and as a grouping, and sometimes the ordering of the photos means that images that I prefer don't make it in whatever grouping I'm showing.
For example, check out the spread from America below. The portraits in these spreads are not my favorites, but they are the strongest images for the narrative that I wanted to tell about America. I felt that I needed a subtle gang reference and that the man drinking Olde English provided it. In addition, that photo was made on the Lao New Year just a few blocks from my studio, and so for me there's a connection to immigration, as well as the modifications and adoption of American culture, something I'm really interested in here in the neighborhood.
The spread below includes a image of a woman kissing a baby that I highly doubt that I'd include in I-95. But for America I needed it.
I needed three kisses in the book, romantic, parental and ideological. Below are the 3 that made it.
Also, I would have loved the Econo Lodge image and the Refrigerators in Lot image to be in a spread with blank pages on the left, but it was an imposibility to place them opposite blank pages without losing two images in the book, and that wasn't going to happen. The images that have blank pages on the left indicate a new "chapter" of photos, and sometimes indicate a shift in theme. Many of the singular images are confusing or dense and needed to be on their own, so they started a new chapter or grouping of photos.
Here's to thinking! Thinking about seeing! And thinking about America! Holy FUCK, I can't believe how lucky I am to have been able to work on this project!