After several decades of relative obscurity, the idiosyncratic yet pioneering career of Les Krims has recently gained the attention of new audiences: uber-hip places like Vice and Purple Magazine. In this interview with Krims by the downtown designer, fashion icon and all-around arbiter of cool Jen Brill in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of Purple (to read, click on contents and go to 'purple Documents'), Krims relates that,
Considered together [Incredible Case of the Stack O'Wheat Murders, Deerslayers and Little People] were meant to needle aspects of past and present practices of photographers — to drive a stake through the heart of what I thought of as "concerned photography." I presented faceted works that objectified a conceptual, fictional method of using a camera.There was little context for my work [in the 70s]. Socially motivated and "concerned" photographers held sway. Only gradually did that begin to change, over the next ten years. By the end of that decade I’d become the scapegoat for radical feminists emerging in the Society for Photographic Education. Andrea Dworkin had the hots for me. However, almost from the beginning, I found an audience in Paris, in Europe, and in Japan.
Making Chicken Soup. Photographs, text and design by Les Krims. Humpy Press, Buffalo, NY, 1972. 68 pp. Duodecimo (5 3/4 x 5 in.). First edition. *With type-written, SIGNED letter dated November 26, 1972 to a 'Ms Seiberling'--probably art & photo historian Grace Seiberling, longtime faculty member at University of Rochester. Stiff photo-illustrated wrappers. 28 sepia-toned reproductions.
Fine; very slight rubbing; no spine crease.
Inlcuded in Parr & Badger (vol. II) and 802 Photo Books. A selection from the M+M. Auer collection.
"That was in 1965. My mother volunteered one day when I complained that I couldn’t find a model to work with at Pratt. I was still living at home with her. I photographed Sally seated on her plastic-covered couch. She wore only white panties. She was modest. Such leaps were a lot less complicated for working-class people, crowded together as we were. I grew up living in two rooms. Modesty wasn’t in great supply. By then my parents had been divorced for almost 20 years. My father had twice married the same showgirl and was living in Las Vegas."--from Jen Brill's interview.
The Little People of America 1971. A limited edition portfolio by Les Krims. Text by A.D. Coleman. Self-Published, 1971. 24 sepia-toned plates printed on glossy card stock (measuring 5x5-3/8 in.). Housed in photo-illustrated hinged box. Signed and numbered on separate sheet that also contains Coleman's text.
Contents Fine; box with slight wear at 'tips'; hinge attaching top to bottom detached.
"...what Krims shows us in these images is that Little People are not much different from anyone else...And, as such, they are as much fair game for Krims' satiric eye as any other subculture...Krims mocks his subjects with that same honed ironic blade he uses to dissect everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, place of national origin--or size"--A.D. Coleman
The Deerslayers. A limited edition portfolio by Les Krims. Text by Alex Sweetman. Self-published, 1972. 23 sepia-toned plates printed on glossy card stock (measuring 5x5-3/8 in.) Housed in photo-illustrated hinged box.
Two sheets containing Alex Sweetman's text laid in; one signed and numbered.
Contents Fine in Near Fine- box-top; light abrasion to joints of box-top with small splits to corners only (box bottom fine); hinge attaching top to bottom detached.
"The Deerslayers," supposed hunters to be conceptual artists making sculpture. Near the end of Vietnam war, radical leftist activists using nasty ad hominem attack, characterized any gun-toting hunter as a murderer; police, as some may remember, were called "pigs." Tongue only slightly in cheek, I suggested that the deer trussed to cars, pick-ups, and campers-commonplace in upstate New York during hunting season-were best understood as sculpture, and a "performance" Hermann Nitsche would enjoy. The title was suggested by James Fennimore Cooper's novel, The Deerslayer. Those pictures were meant to conjure a creative appraisal and positive spin for a utilitarian sport practiced by many people living outside the radical-intellectual epicenter of New York City. Most deer hunters ate what they shot. And it's my guess that many lefty intellectuals would have strapped-on a Glock and gone hunting, too, if lox ran wild in Central Park."--Les Krims
The Incredible Case of the Stack O'Wheat Murders. A limited edition portfolio by Les Krims. Text by Robert Sobieszek. Self-published, 1972. 10 sepia-toned plates printed on glossy card stock (measuring 5x5-3/8 in.). Housed in photo-illustrated hinged box. Two sheets containing Sobieszek's text laid in; one signed and numbered.
Contents Fine; box Fine- with touch of wear at 'tips'; one side slightly 'flared'.
"The Incredible Case of the Stack O'Wheat Murders is a series of pseudo-crime scene photographs depicting nude or semi-nude women as victims of sexualized murders. Beside each victim was a stack of pancakes. Anybody who purchased a complete set of the ten 14 x 17 prints also received a can of Hershey's syrup…which was used to simulate blood in the photos…and enough pancake mix to make a single stack of pancakes. In 1980 the University of California at Santa Cruz was exhibiting this series. Nikki Craft, an activist who protested against pornography and rape, saw the photographs the day after a local woman was raped and murdered. She ripped up the photographs and poured Hershey's syrup over them. (As an aside, Craft was acquitted of the charge of Malicious Mischief after she presented a defense arguing that the destruction of Krims' photos was itself a work of performance art. Another aside…months later, Craft purchased a complete set of the Stack O'Wheat series and donated them to the university.)"--from Sunday Salon with Greg Fallis, Utata Tribal Photography
Fictcryptokrimsographs: A Book-Work by Les Krims. Introduction by Hollis Frampton. Humpy Press: Buffalo, 1975. 93 pp. Square octavo. INSCRIBED on verso of front wrapper. Photo-illustrated wrappers. 40 color reproductions.
Fine+; unusually crisp copy.
Included in 802 Photo Books. A selection from the M+M. Auer collection
"By the end of that [70s] I’d become the scapegoat for radical feminists emerging in the Society for Photographic Education. Andrea Dworkin had the hots for me."--from Jen Brill's interview.
This hysterical book by Les Krims contains reproductions of SX-70 photographs that have been altered during the development process. This technique lends a wacky, sometimes surreal sensibility to the conceptual nudes Krims has set up to photograph. A humorous look at the nude and sexuality and Krims' creative spirit.
Leslie Krims: Eight Photographs. Projections Photography Portfolios/Doubleday & Company, 1970. Stiff paper portfolio containing one-page introduction by A.D. Coleman + 8 loose sepia-toned gravure reproductions on 11" x 14" sheets + title sheet. Enclosed stiff cardboard slipcase.
Contents Fine; age darkened paper folio; slipcase just slightly shelf-worn
"What moves me most about Les Krims, as a photographer and as a person--in short, as an artist--is that he is the most durably comic photographer around and, at the same time, profound enough to scare the living hell out of me."--A.D. Coleman