Saturday, 2 August 2014

Book Review: Brian Merriam

One day I was scrolling through Tumblr - as I usually do when procrastinating - when I stumbled across a post about Brian Merriam, a photographer who was advertising his latest book - In The Mist. As I am an avid photobook collector I couldn't resist having a peek, I also thought that it might come with a nice price too (I was very much correct) which is always a bonus for a cash strapped, book obsessed graduate like myself. What I found was a site full of beautiful photographs that seemed to be a visual diary of this photographers life. It had that dreamy, misty nomadic style of work that I always love, alongside its location in the U S of A - my favourite place! That Americana feel and road trip style nostalgia never fails to get me drawn in. So sufficiently drawn in by his series; ‘it might look weird in the morning’, ‘my fathers summer’ and ‘where the desert goes to die’ I decided to check out the book on the for sale page, to my surprise it was a wonderful little pack of work containing a 48 page full colour perfect bound book "in the mist"+ 28 page full colour zine "the last best place" + limited 4x6 print all for only $25! I clicked the pay button straight away and made my purchase in excitement. Brian then emailed me to let me know the book would be on its way when he got back from his trip - its always nice to know you are dealing with the artist directly, I always feel like the work has then had a personal touch and is unique.

So after a couple of weeks the books arrived and my eyes hungrily leafed through the pages of the book and zine. In The Mist is exactly what it says on the tin. The beautiful, quiet, ethereal photographs flow together to create this mysterious land of fog and cloud, where anonymous swimmers glide through the water and ghost like people wander on rough ground and across bridges. Double spread images fill your vision as you squint your eyes in the hope that doing so would help you see further into the images and perhaps into the minds of those figures in the landscape.

I moved onto the zine next, entitled ‘the last best place’, it contains a mix of landscape photographs, animals, houses and a black truck graffitied with the words ‘say no to meth’ - is this photograph a juxtaposition to the ones of snow covered trees and moody sunsets?
Silhouettes of people creep into the photographs and take their place in some of the landscapes, the human presence in such rugged landscapes is a powerful one and lends the viewer a means as to connect with the images. The varying page layouts allow the eye to wander casually through the work, applying their own interpretations and links with the imagery. The colours are a strong feature here, with yellows and blues taking residence and providing a flow through the work which made them stand out from other similar landscapes I have seen. Brian Merriam has a strong understanding and connection with colour and nature in his photographs and I will be keeping up to date on his work and hopefully he will come out with more books to add to my collection.

You can buy his book and zine here: 
I highly recommend you do - you won’t be disappointed.

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