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Mark Steinmetz's favorite book from 2018

Landfall  by Mimi Plumb begins with a brief text:
I remember having insomnia for a time when I was 9 years old. My mother told me there might be nuclear war.

Made in the mid to late 1980s in black and white, the central recurring character of Landfall is a young girl. There's also a woman who might be her mother, a man who could be the father (and another man — an uncle perhaps), a boy who is possibly a brother. There are images of missiles, toy tanks, and military equipment. There are photographs of the Western desert landscape, the shoreline, barren trees and the burnt interior of a house. Plumb's flash turns hair into silver, and strikes carousel horses with gaping mouths (literal night mares). Sources of comfort are absent (an exception: the girl lying in bed with (I guess) her mother, though the sleeping mother has turned away). There's a vague dread hovering over this child's world; something dark may be approaching.


Mark Steinmetz is a photographer who lives in Athens, Georgia. His book Angel City West 3, photographs of Los Angeles from the early 80s, will be released by Nazraeli Press in the spring.