Welcome to Springfield.
By Michael Abrams.
Loosestrife, 2012. 156 pp., 135 duotone illustrations, 8¾x7¾".
Signed copies available!
This second book from Michael Abrams continues his exploration of vernacular images and their power to access our latent memory. Lifted from their origins in family albums, the photographs travel a meandering path through the fictional “Springfield.” Alternating between the sacred and profane, black and white, exquisite and ordinary, the book is experienced as a cumulative impression of both the conscious and remembered. The cover image of a masked family begins the journey into a world of the unknown yet eerily familiar. The author guides us across a suburban terrain that shifts between Ozzie and Harriet and David Lynch. The adoring mom becomes a sexy vixen and a familiar living room morphs into an eerie stage set.
Springfield crafts a sense of place by weaving snapshots with other evocative visual elements such as wallpaper remnants, newspaper clippings and secreted snapshots. A short story by Gerry Badger is separately laid in as a found object might be inserted into an album for safekeeping. His story of resident Aaron Miller is interlaced with excerpts from the Springfield Plan, a 1945 treatise which identifies the racial schisms of mid-century America and suggests a radical blueprint for their resolution. The accumulation of interwoven stories and images propose a guide through the author’s version of Springfield. In the course of the journey our attempts to keep secret our hidden memories and desires are exposed — but only with the additional effort that the book demands of its viewer. The book is masterfully designed by photographer and book guru John Gossage.
Read Adam Bell's review of Welcome to Springfield on photo-eye Blog.