Okay, "true confessions" time. I buy more photo books than I review. Another confession. Books I buy I don't always read. Final confession. I bought Ed Templeton's Deformer, and haven't spent a lot of time with my copy. The rage and rush for the new makes it hard to spend proper time with the slightly not-new, those titles I didn't review (and there are scores of them). But it's a book I kept scanning in stores, pondering purchasing, coming back to again and again until I realized that I was committed to it, so I'd better have it in my world. Though it seemed like a stranger from a strange land, a land of counter-intuitive, irrational attractions, I know that such strangeness may signify that a book has tapped into my animus, has become a kind of bibliographic anti-hero, a dark knight of my bookcase.
Welcome, Ed Templeton, to my convening of visions. Thanks for sharing yours. Especially in Drinking the Kool-Aid, a thoughtfully designed, unusually crafted, and very attractively priced artist's book. Istanbul (where Kool-Aid gained objecthood) must be a previously untapped Shangri-La for labor-intensive printing projects. To borrow some skateboarding images, it has pages that escape the pipe, that fly out like tails and wings (and the spiked hair of the cover portrait, itself part of a folded-over Doppelgänger). Love the contact-sheet-like semi-belly-band, with its Kerouac/Ginsberg unpunctuated text howling that "the vapors of flames leave scars on the walls of the church."
This is a teasingly brief book, a provocation uncommonly dense with intention that leaves me wanting more. Wishing I had my copy of Deformer at hand. Looking forward to writing about another Templeton or two.
George Slade , a longtime contributor to photo-eye, is the programs manager and curator at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. He continues to post content on his blog, re:photographica.