Redheaded Peckerwood. Christian Patterson (USA).
Photographs by Christian Patterson
Texts by Luc Sante (cultural critic) and Karen Irvine (photography curator)
Design by Christian Patterson
Published by MACK. First edition, October 2011. (Second edition was printed in 2012. Third edition in early 2013).
[Borrowed from Mathieu
"Redheaded Peckerwood" is a perfect example of a photography book as an art object. It almost goes beyond photography, in a way that this is more than just a body of photographs put together in a book. It combines historical photographs, fascinating story, excellent comment essays, visual humour, archival documents, fiction, mystery, facts, beautiful design. This is a very complex narrative and to really connect to it, you have to spend time with the book and explore each of its elements, using associations and hints.
The book is a re-construction of American crime story: in 1958 two teenagers Charles Stakweather and Caril Ann Fugate murdered eleven people. Brooklyn-based artist and photographer Christain Patterson went on a trip almost 50 years later following the path of the couple (from Nebraska to Wyoming), documenting murder sites, neighborhoods, symbolic landscapes, buildings, things. Patterson also spent time in the local archive collecting documents which were included in the book. A comment essay by Luc Sante (booklet design reminds a trial record printed on a typewriter) provides the context and gives some directions. Bringing past to the present, combining archival photographs and facts with fiction, mixing reality and myth, Patterson creates a narrative which Luc Sante defines as “subjective documentary photography of the historical past”.
If you wonder, the title of the book “Redheaded Peckerwood” refers to a term used by southern black people and upper class whites to describe poor rural whites (like red haired Stakweather and Fugate). And "Badlands"
(1973) by Terrence Malick is a must see film if you were captured by this story.
Video: Christian Patterson discusses his project
Review and video by Joerg Colberg
The Photobook as Crime Dossier by Rick Poynor
Review by Adam Bell
The Guardian article by Sean O’Hagan
Note by Wayne Ford
Photo-eye by George Slade
Des livres et des photos by Rémi Coignet (in French)
Discipline in disorder (in French)
Crocnique (in French)