Melissa Catanese - VoyagersThe Ice Plant
Where do our minds go when we read books, magazines, and letters? Do we seek an escape, a portal to another world? A secret, a truth, a pleasant distraction? Voyagers, edited by Melissa Catanese (author of Dive Dark Dream Slow), consists almost entirely of anonymous black & white snapshots of people in various postures of reading — in living rooms, on beds, at the beach, eating breakfast. We can’t see what these readers are thinking, but Catanese occasionally breaks the hypnotic typological rhythm to reveal a new photographic element — a pyramid, a starry night, sunlight glowing through a window — giving us brief glimpses of the readers’ potential narrative journeys. A wordless book with the size and feel of a vintage paperback found at a flea market, Voyagers reminds us of the power and intimacy of our relationship to ‘reading devices,’ and evokes an exotic nostalgia for our recent pre-digital culture. As with Catanese’s prior books, the images were judiciously selected from the collection of Peter J. Cohen, a celebrated trove of more than 20,000 vernacular photographs from the early- to mid-twentieth century.
The Ice Plant, Los Angeles, 2018
Softcover, dust jacket, 133 x 184 mm