Thursday 11 September 2008

Aaron Schuman

All images ©Aaron Schuman

Aaron Schuman is a truly prolific writer on photography and every time I pick any one of a number of my favourite publications on the subject be it FOAM, Aperture, Hotshoe or BJP his work seems to be everywhere. It is no surprise really since his is one of the most incisive and intelligent voices evaluating the medium today. In fact, his name will probably ring a bell with many of you as the founding editor of the brilliant online photography magazine, SeeSaw but it is his own personal photography to which I would like to draw your attention today people. Not that long ago, he sent me a small sample from his most series, Once Upon a Time in the West which really got my creative juices going.

I´ll hand over to the man himself and let him explain whats going on behind this project. Here is his artist statement:

"The following photographs were made on the eroding sets and locations of Sergio Leone’s celebrated 1960’s ‘spaghetti Westerns’, deep in the Almerian deserts of southern Spain. For several years I have pursued work concerned with the propagation of American myths abroad, as well as notions of how the ‘American vision’ has been applied to landscapes and cultures throughout the world. Recently, I became fascinated by the notion that a fundamental American archetype – the Wild West, and its associations with freedom, rebelliousness, brutality, morality, honour and so on – had been transposed by an Italian film director onto the landscape of Franco’s Spain, and subsequently came to define this ‘quintessentially American’ genre in itself. Furthermore, I was particularly interested in trying to discover what these sets – flimsy, worn and weathered, but still standing forty years on and curiously continuing to attract a surprising number of visitors – might insinuate about the state of America, its ideals, reputation, ambitions, visions and illusions today."

Be sure to check out his website and take the time to browse through the different portfolios, they make for a richly rewarding viewing experience. I am particularly fond of his photographs from the Walker Anonymous lot and must book an appointment to see them in the flesh sometime soon. Enjoy!