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Friday, 21 November 2014

Photography filled with Hate and Violence (but in a good way)

So then, here's Brad Feuerhelm's new book, Let us Now Praise Infamous Men.

The book is a bunch of screenshots of multi-national arms dealers. What are they like?

Nasty is what Feuerhelm thinks. So nasty he gives them a taste of their own medicine. He shoots them in the head.

Not really in the head, but their pictures in the book - he shoots the whole edition of 200 in the head with a glock .45. It's "possibly the first book" to be shot in such a manner it says in the blurb.

Yep, I'll give you that.

So there's another new gimmick. It's the shot book, the book of people who sell things that shoot people getting shot in the head.

A lot of people are down on gimmicks but I'm not. Not when it fits so well with the concept and the content of the book. There's a glorious symmetry to it that is both fun and a bit disturbing. It's like photobook slapstick, cartoon violence (and Mickey, Snow White and half of Disney get it too). Cartoons aside, who these people are, I have no idea (there are no captions identifying them and maybe that's half the point) so I'll take it all at face value.

I'm placing Let us Now Praise Infamous Men with Chris Anderson's Stump. The one should be merged with the other.

Preorder and read more about the book here.

And see the spreads on Josef Chadlek's blog here. 


John W MacPherson said...

Yes I like this concept too.

Too much of 'war photography' is focused on the suffering, sufferers, casualties, destruction and the 'void of war'.

So it's refreshing (and important) to see that void being filled with images (or concepts) that require photographers to look in other directions, to those hitherto 'faceless' purveyors of death.

Personally I'd go one step further and include as part of the 'package' the weighty lump of lead that caused the damage to each individual volume, thus making the point that just as each 'casualty' of war is an individual, right down to their fingerprints and DNA, so each bullet is an individual, ballistically unique item with its own signature - the unique 'fingerprint' of the weapon used to fire it.

It might be a 'gimmick' to some, but there are times when you really need to make a statement, and done right this is as good and fresh a way as any.

There is a 'chain of accountability' in this process of arms manufacture/sale/purchase/use/death which this project is starting to poke at and I welcome that.

colin pantall said...

Good job - it can go over people's heads sometimes but this one could be pushed further - like Christien Meindertsma's Checked Baggage - have a free bullet with every book.

I like all the new design elements - especially when they are as direct and to the point as this!

D said...

The special edition of 40 does actually come with a shell casing of the original bullets that shot the book. The books were shot a total of 40 times. Trade edition will not have the bullett included.

Trade editions will be coming shortly for preorder.

Paralaxe Editions

MarkMattock said...

Works too well to be labelled a gimmick.
Loving the extra dimension of your close ups that
could be construed as 'assholes'

colin pantall said...

Thanks Mark - works doesn't it. There's another layer.

Wow, complete with shell casing. There you go, John, it's all there.

colin pantall said...

The bullet hole ties in with the pictures, who and what they represent - and the shape the bullet makes.

But it's still a gimmick. A gimmick which has a point to it.