By Phil Bergerson
Black Dog Publishing, $34.95, 34.95
American Artifacts definitely wants to make a statement through the objects and scenes that were captured through the camera lens. Over 100+ full-color photos cover the entire country that includes many of the scenes from New York City. Photos of dirty mattresses, oversexed mannequins and desolate lots feel sad and depressing to this reader. There is accompanying text by Margaret Atwood and Nathan Lyons that share their perspective on debt, money, sex, religion, greed and ultimately sin in the introduction and conclusion of the book.
“The ability to size up an enemy or a prey is a common feature of the animal kingdom, but among the primates, the making of fine bigger-than and better-than distinction when the edible goodies are being divided up verges on the unnerving.”
This book feels very personal given the choice of subjects in the photos – a homeless person sleeping on the street and graffiti on a crumbling brick wall, as examples. It should create great discussion topics as you look closely at the photos to find the obvious and hidden meanings that each scene creates and that the photographer captured. Although this is not a book this reviewer would have been drawn to, it does offer an interesting look at America from a greed-filled lens.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff