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photo-eye Book Reviews: Hijacked: Volume One


Hijacked. Edited by Mark McPherson and Max Pam. 
Published by Big City Press, 2009.

Hijacked: Volume One
Reviewed by Colin Pantall
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MARK & MAX PAM MCPHERSON Hijacked.
Edited by Mark McPherson and Max Pam.
Big City Press, 2009. 288 pp., Color and black & white illustrations, 8x10-1/2".


If 'quick and dirty' photographs wrapped up in the 'weird naughtiness of a generation' sound appealing, then Hijacked Volume One is a book for you.

Combining the zine ethic and media-savvy dynamism of FIGJAM street culture with the networking energy of its Perth-based creator Mark McPherson, Hijacked 1 is a compelling trawl through contemporary US and Australian photographic practice.

There are quiet dramas, constructed worlds and confused realities but it is the blast from the street that dominates the book. From the US, Todd Fisher's street photography shows people kissing, pissing and fighting, bravado work that may or may not be all it seems. Bill Sullivan's portraits of people posing while having their portrait painted is a smart layering of meanings while Sarah Small's concoctions are both odd and fresh.

Hijacked, by MARK & MAX PAM MCPHERSON. Published by Big City Press, 2009.
Hijacked, by MARK & MAX PAM MCPHERSON. Published by Big City Press, 2009.

Toni Wilkinson uses the rich Australian light to portray a nostalgic and beautiful view of Australian children, while Michael Gray's manipulations show the inner man struggling to get out but perhaps also struggling to return to whence he came - a near impossibility whichever the continent.

Hijacked, by MARK & MAX PAM MCPHERSON. Published by Big City Press, 2009.

Hijacked, by MARK & MAX PAM MCPHERSON. Published by Big City Press, 2009.

The Australian landscape is heard in Martin Mischkulnig's images of the Outback, pictures where even the interiors of bars and bowling alleys feel somehow temporary. These are only structures-in-waiting, buildings ready to be overwhelmed by the wilderness on which they have been imposed.

According to co-editor, Max Pam, Hijacked 1 is an antidote to the taste and ethics police of the Australian art establishment. In other words, it's not just another collection of the work of 'emerging artists.' Instead it is a book that feels good for the eyes and for the soul, a book that has a zest and energy that is at times chaotic, but also revealing of the similarities and differences between US and Australian obsessions.—Colin Pantall

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Colin Pantall is a photographer, writer and teacher based in Bath. His photography and writing have been shown and published in North America, Europe and Asia. More thoughts of Colin Pantall can be found at Colin Pantall's blog     (http://colinpantall.blogspot.com/).  

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