An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.
Photographs by Taryn Simon. Foreword by Salman Rushdie. Essays by Elisabeth Sussman, Christina Kukielski and Ronal Dworkin.
Steidl & Partners, 2008. 150 pp., 70 four-color illustrations., 9¾x13½".
In An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, Taryn Simon documents spaces that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning, but remain inaccessible or unknown to a public audience. She has photographed rarely seen sites from domains including: science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security and religion. This index examines subjects that, while provocative or controversial, are currently legal. The work responds to a desire to discover unknown territories, to see everything.
Simon makes use of the annotated-photograph’s capacity to engage and inform the public. Transforming that which is off-limits or under-the-radar into a visible and intelligible form, she confronts the divide between the privileged access of the few and the limited access of the public. Photographed with a large format view camera (except when prohibited), Simon’s 70 color plates form a seductive collection that reflects and reveals a national identity.
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