In the month before the 2016 presidential election New Zealand photographer Harvey Benge spent time in San Francisco and New York making the images in this book.
In many ways these 59 photographs represent a time capsule – places, people and scraps of visual information – that is an affectionate and sometimes critical look at this mash up of a society that in October 2016 was at an existential watershed. This work does not pretend to be an objective look at America, it is simply Benge’s subjective view. The images are filtered through Benge’s own sensibilities, formed by his country’s own brand of politics where socialism is embraced and not a dirty word. And, of course, the states of California and New York present just one aspect of what it means to be an American.
There is no judgment here, just Benge’s desire to understand and attempt to tap into something resembling truth. There is a sense of profound sadness here too, of futility and a feeling that not much lies behind the fake news, the hard sell, or the glossy surface of things. Despite all of this there is resilience and resistance. Stoicism is in the air and there is a feeling that things will come right.
Well known for his many photobooks, Harvey Benge has twice been a finalist in the prestigious Prix du Livre at Arles Photography Festival, France. He has exhibited his work extensively in both public and private galleries in Britain, throughout Europe, and in New Zealand. Benge is also involved in curatorial projects and runs a series of ongoing photography workshops with international photographers at Auckland’s AUT University.
Hardback 64 pages
165mm x 234mm, 59 colour photographs
A special edition limited to 100 copies is also available for order via our UK website (www.dewilewis.com) for £35.00. This includes a 7"x 5" signed & numbered print as well as the book. The image can be seen on the left.