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Let Us Now Praise Infamous Men.
By Brad Feuerhelm.
Paralaxe Editions. Unpaged, 55 offset colour pages, 5¾x8¾".

Publisher's Description

Picked as Book of the Week by Josef Chladek

Letterpressed softcover, Edition of 200.

In Walker Evans and James Agee’s 1936 book “Let us now Praise Famous Men”, Evans and Agee conspired to illustrate the life of American sharecropper’s plight during Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal highlighting the struggles of Americans living during the dust bowl years and the resulting poverty that ensued. Saccharine to the point of decay, the assignment was funded by Fortune magazine for which Evans worked.

Presently, Brad Feuerhelm has taken the iconic photo-literary tract of Evans and Agee and has appropriated the tract to inverse the use of the photographic image in a political dialogue through the act of violent destruction by physically shooting all 200+ copies of the book point blank with a glock .45 in the summer of 2014. The author was in his words “at war with the obnoxiously persistent and tentacled filament of the military industrial complex in America and the societal Disneyland (absurdity) that has invoked complacency over the mechanics of it at large”.

Perhaps direct and somewhat abusive, the bullet that pierces each of the pages transcends the nominal photo-book into that of an anti-iconographic relic. The book becomes object in which violence has occurred and each of the portraits becomes a transgressive display of intolerance towards societal disregard for the economic war machine. Heads of several multi-national arms corporations, both domestic and international find their own image torn asunder by a violent act. The irony of which is that the book itself becomes an object to be re-sold to an audience pointing at the cyclical and futile irony of the presiding problem of complacency within the ever-expanding pursuit of capital largess through arms and military equipment sales. Possibly the first book to be physically shot in such a manner, the accompanying text by Feuerhelm and Michael Salu point combatively to the problems of becoming complacent under life at its extremes.

Brad Feuerhelm (b. 1977) is a photography collector, curator, dealer, and writer on photography. He is also a photographer. He has published several books on his collection and has exhibited his collection of photography widely. In 2012, he published his first book with Self Publish Be Happy (Coll. MOMA, NY) and in 2013 he published his second book “TV Casualty” on the Kennedy Assassination and popular screen culture with Archive of Modern Conflict. He has contributed his writings and collection to Granta, British Journal of Photography, Photography & Culture, Art Review, Dazed & Confused, and American Suburb X.

He has also promoted shows such as “On the Ephemeral In Photography” (Hotshoe, 2011, “Haunting the Chapel: Photography and Dissolution” (Daniel Blau Ltd., 2012),“On Paraphotography: Uncertainty, the Uncanny, & The Occult” (Harlan Levey Projects, 2013), And Unnatural Selection: Nice Women Artists Respond to the Collection of Brad Feuerhelm for Unseen Photography Fair September, 2013.

In 2013, He has begun a partnership with MAPP publishing to promote selections from his collection in e-book format. The first publication in December 2013, “The Genealogy of Mortals” looks at his collection of photography and murder.

He is also Associate editor of 1000Words Photography Magazine where he contributes regular writings and interviews with contemporary photography’s key practitioners. As of November 2014, he is also a managing editor for American Suburb X.

Michael Salu is a creative director, artist and writer. His fiction, non fiction and art have been appeared in a range of publications including, The Short Anthology, Grey Magazine, granta.com and most recently A Tale of two Cities, published by OR Books. His latest work is a film entitled ‘Yesterday’ and he runs multidisciplinary creative agency http://salu.io/.

No two books are the same as they have been shot with live ammunition. Their ravaged nature is part of their appeal.

Read Colin Pantall's Review


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