An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. Taryn Simon (USA).
Photographs by Taryn Simon
Designed by Joseph Logan and Taryn Simon
Foreword by Salman Rushdie
Introduction by Elizabeth Sussman and Tina Kukielski
Published by Steidl. First edition, 2007. (reprinted in 2008)
If you are one of those people who can be fascinated by Playboy in Braille system (published by the branch of the Library of Congress), Lucasfilm Archives, Transatlantic Sub-marine Cables, the NASA beach house, nuclear submarin or anything extraordinary or hidden, this book is most likely for you. As Salmon Rushdie points in the foreword “ours is an age of secrets”. Taryn Simon did almost unbelievable work getting access to all these places and photographing them. It took her almost a year to research some of the locations and get permissions (many of them are closed for public). Taryn Simon did get a negative respond from Disneyland saying “magical spell cast on guests who visit our theme park is particularly important to protect and helps to provide them with an important fantasy they can escape to”.
Simon’s work is very conceptual. She uses different mediums (text, design, photography) which become an integral part of her projects. The book is more than just index of curios images: it reveals an integral part of American society, its identity, culture and everyday functioning. It does indicate the progress of the society and very real threats it brings. “This is not an archive, but a time capsule”.
Each photograph is accompanied by a caption, scene description and relevant information. The book is beautifully printed: a linen cover and a title in gold, black end-notes, a lot of white spaces, good binding and heavy paper.
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