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Haunted Air Hardcover – 28 Oct 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (28 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224089706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224089708
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"bewitching collection of found American Halloween photographs from 1875-1955." --VMAN Magazine

Book Description

A collection of anonymous Hallowe'en Photographs from America, c.1875 - 1955

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Osborne on 29 Oct 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's all there in the subtitle - 'A Collection of Anonymous Hallowe'en Photographs America c. 1875 - 1955' ... this is a wonderful book, culled from Ossian Brown's collection of Halloween photos from the America of yesteryear.
Deeply weird and strangely poignant, these anonymous images are strongly redolent of the work of Diane Arbus or Charles Gatewood (minus the body -modification and full-on nudity, of course), naive but at the same time very sinister. It's the homespun quality, both of the photos themselves and of the costumes that imply these qualities. A small child dressed up as a cat appears to be about to take a leak against a gatepost, an older youth (in pantaloons?) wearing a dog's head poses against a rural backdrop, a small boy in carnival mask poses between two older boys - the photo carries the dedication "the one that scares you is Donnie", but which one is Donnie - and what did he get up to?
Almost every image here implies something odd is about to happen, just seconds after the photo was taken. But what? That's up to you. Most of these photos appear to be taken in the 'burbs - what was going on in small town America? Is it any wonder that David Lynch was sufficiently enamoured to write a (typically odd) foreword?

Ossian Brown is a polymath - artist, occultist, collector and musician, most notably with Coil and Cyclobe, and he has put together a memorable collection of images.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chankos on 16 Jun 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ossian Brown's incredible collection of found Halloween pictures is an absolute must for anyone with an affinity for the extraordinary. Looking through this book is like stumbling across a bizarre family album depicting an alternate reality where the American suburbs of yesteryear were descended upon by gangs of diminutive creatures somehow captured on film before they retreated into the shadows.

The sepia-toned, awkwardly-framed and hazy images convey a nightmarish intensity. Many of these photographs predate the mass production of Halloween masks and costumes, lending the crudely improvised outfits a genuinely sinister aura. Most chillingly of all, these evil clowns, merry demons and hessian-cowled figures inhabit the everyday: they pose on picket-fenced lawns, leaf-strewn porches and in living rooms, nestled comfortably in rocking chairs beside the fireplace.

This beautiful hardback is bound in appropriately sombre black cloth, with each photograph presented uncropped, one per page. David Lynch fittingly contributes the introduction (who better to preface a collection of images conveying the creeping, fantastical dread lurking behind the seemingly everyday?). Geoff Cox's eloquent afterword poetically traces the origins of Halloween, the ancient tradition reinterpreted most wondrously of all in America.

Thanks to Ossian Brown, this long-dead group of disparate amateur photographers and their subjects have created the best photography book of 2010. "Haunted Air" belongs in the library of anyone with an interest in photography and the shadows that lurk within.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pipster on 1 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful book! Gorgeous vintage black & white photographs from the dark-side. David Lynch is on form as ever writing the introduction. If you are a Lynch fan, or just a fan of strangeness, you need this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Swift on 28 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover
With a backdrop of Southern dirt farms, barren dry landscapes this collection of photographs are horrifying. The images look like the kind of nightmarish figures that you catch out of the corner of your eye. The sort of images that shouldn't be able to be caught on camera. Whilst looking at them for a time you feel that some figure in a blacked up face, conical hat and blank eyes could be staring through the window and vanish as you glance up. A genuinely disturbing book , a must.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Octo7 on 2 Mar 2012
Format: Hardcover
Haunted Air is a beautiful hard-cover collection of Halloween photographs from America's past. There's something very strange and even magical about this book. The introduction by David Lynch is short, sweet and beautifully written; then we get straight to the photographs. The pages are of high-quality paper and the print-job is perfect; the photographs jump out from centre of their plain-white surroundings, right into your mind. There is on average, one photo for every two pages, the left page is often blank while the right contains the image, it's so minimal and effective, and gives each image the attention it duly deserves. I'm not going to try to explain the images, they just need to be seen.
So fans of the macabre, weird, dark, fantastical, and wonderful should find something to enjoy here. If you have even a mild interest in the contents of this book, I know you will love it.

(Also, as a Coil fan, I thought it was nice to see this book is dedicated to Jhon Balance.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reminded me firstly of the Pop Group album cover, depicting a tribe of people immersed within their own ecstatic religion. These photos however are from America, sepia along with black and white images of children and adults steeped in their own pagan reverie. Bringing out the eerie other world, the pictures are of varying quality, but these bridge the pavement to this other world - where religion is put safely to one side and people communicate on another deeper surreal level.

So within, are the ghosts of the past, rising up, before the Old Testament was plastered over these people as ball on chain on the imagination. As such this book brings the historical realm back to the present and it makes the full realisation, people are suspended forever within their silent dreams.

These photos make the internal connection to Coil and David Lynch.
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