PHOTOBOOKS OF NOTE 2020 - Tim Carpenter & Jenia Fridlyand

Jenia Fridlyand and Tim Carpenter decided to talk about a few of their mutual favorites of the year with a back-and-forth conversation, sort of “exquisite corpse” style. 

 
Meloni Meloni - Gerry Johansson

There’s a joke about Walla Walla that it’s the place so nice they named it twice. 

Tic Tac Toe – a wondrous wandering via Gerry’s squares and their tender opposition.

Opposition, repetition, clouds inside your head. (Forgive me, the loss of Ric Ocasek is still fresh). But I do think the repetition of the title is a clue to the content, the way it creates its weather, its climate. 

What about its time? Some say it’s repetition that measures time, others believe it’s the unique events that create a sense of its progression.

It’s probably both in concert, with music being the operative metaphor: motifs and variations. 

“Melody and melancholy,” mumbled the master.

 

Rabbit / Hare - David Billet and Ian Kline
I feel like Ian and David had some sort of mind meld (more like a heart meld, really) when they made the pictures in this book. 

Photography meld is actually a meld of these two melds, because you converge on meaning AND feeling – in form.

A meld of two melds, now we’re getting all poetical. But yes: the head and the heart on the same axis; the shaping of the impulse. 

Or philosophical: one nymphalid taking off in the beginning of the book and one landing on a finger toward the end are the same butterfly, for our purposes.

Knowing these guys, maybe the same butterfly in fact. They are nothing but youthfully dogged in their pursuit of the thing itself. 

Being – and staying – youthful is perhaps one of the very few ways not to get bogged down by doggedness.

Ciprian Honey Cathedral - Raymond Meeks
This book dropped right around the same time as the new Marilynne Robinson novel, so I spent part of this year in some better place. 

One of the things art does is help us understand what “better” could actually mean – better place, better sleep, better love…

Ray expands horizons. Turns out this is also true outside his pictures. (If this was journalism, we’d have to acknowledge that Ray’s a friend. But blessedly we’re not journalists.)

Appropriately, horizons in Ray’s images are few and far between.

Ah yes, we are kept tight, held tight. A nurse friend told me that’s why swaddling works: the firmness of the embrace calms the infant. I recently bought a 20 pound comforter; it’s awesome. Ray’s book is like that. 

Imposed stillness has definitely been one of the few blessings of this peculiar year.

Tim Carpenter & Jenia Fridlyand are photographers in New York. They are also good friends... and that's important in times like these. We are very close to selling out of Tim's book he made with Nathan Pearce, "Still Feel Gone"... You have been warned.