Adam Bell’s Favorite Book from 2019

were it not for by Michael Ashkin.   Published by Fw: Books.

Michael Ashkin’s quiet and austere images of the damaged landscape of the Mojave desert have a disquieting beauty perfectly attuned to our fraught moment. Pairing image and poetic text, were it not for is an urgent and timely book as we slowly awaken from the lies and empty promises of 20th-century hypercapitalism. Whereas the titular refrain speaks of limits and excuses—forestalling possibilities, hope, and progress—the accompanying photographs are a tragic foil of unfettered excess and ruin.

Adam Bell is a photographer, writer, and educator. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2004, and his work has been exhibited and published internationally. His books included Vision Anew: The Lens and Screen Arts (2015) and The Education of a Photographer (2006), and his writing and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Afterimage, Aperture, FOAM Magazine, Paper Journal, photo-eye, The Photobook Review, and The Brooklyn Rail. He recently received a 2018 Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey Council of the Arts and is on staff and faculty at the MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Department at the School of Visual Arts in NYC.