Photographs by Michael Ackerman. Introduced by Denis Kambouchner.
Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2011. 168 pp., 153 duotone illustrations, 8x11¾".
According to Denis Kambouchner’s introduction, Michael Ackerman’s
latest book Half Life is a haunted book. It is certainly
disturbing; in Michael Ackerman’s world, something is always
disintegrating. A feeling of isolation pervades; a space weighed
down by history takes over everything.
The landscapes are harsh and unwelcoming, combining frozen
expanses, blackened houses, vestiges of the mining industry and
abandoned cemeteries. But it is the anguish of individuals that stirs
us most deeply – their expressions of distress and confusion, their
unfinished gestures, the sense of damage. These are people who
appear to live in the ruins of a drama. It is as if their whole bodies
were given over to a scream. What all these people, these bodies
and these images, have in common is the pure situation, that
something is wrong – out of joint. Everything in the book is in the
form of a response. Ackerman carefully constructs a whole system
of recalls and echoes, reinforcing a primordial desolation, set
against the backdrop of an entirely fragmented and
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