13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Americana gone weird,
This review is from: Haunted Air (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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Oct 2010 23:07:02 GMT
Thanks for writing a review of this book. Does it contain any discussion about the photos or is it purely a book of images - and if so, how many photos are there?
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2010 07:35:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Nov 2010 07:38:15 GMT
A. Osborne says:
While there is no discussion of individual photos, just the images themselves, there is a very interesting afterword by Geoff Cox which touches on the images and reflects on Hallowe'en, and a short piece by Ossian Brown.
There are about 115 photos.
There are a number of very interesting interviews with Ossian about the book on the Web.
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