|Family, Photographs by Chris Verene. |
Published by Twin Palms Publishers, 2008.
Reviewed by Faye Robson
Chris Verene Family
Photographs by Chris Verene
Twin Palms Publishers, Santa Fe, 2008. Hardbound. 120 pp., 80 color illustrations, 11x14".
In the short 'afterword' appended to Chris Verene's recently published monograph, Family, the photographer refers to the images collected here - photographs made over a period of 26 years in his hometown of Galesburg, Illinois - as 'my life's work.' After a careful, fascinated reading of this complicated book, one is tempted to ask why Verene chooses to say 'my life's work' rather than, simply, ' my life.' After all, the intimate relationships and intense trust that exist between the photographer and his subjects (many of whom are members of Verene's close family) are clearly in evidence. His relations and neighbours are often presented during periods of extreme personal hardship, struggling with unemployment, illness and loss, and, as the photographer himself is at pains to point out, they are fully aware of and complicit in his presentation of these photographs in an 'art' context.
Faye Robson is an editor of illustrated books, currently based in London, UK. She has worked on photobooks for publishers including Aperture Foundation, New York and Phaidon Press, London.