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Book of the Week: A Pick by Sara Macel

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Sara Macel Sara Macel selects Scavenger by Jenny Riffle as Book of the Week.
Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure HuntingBy Jenny Riffle
Zatara Press, 2015.
This week's Book of the Week pick comes from Sara Macel who has selected Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting by Jenny Riffle from Zatara Press.

"Jenny Riffle’s gorgeous photobook Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting begins with a quote from Mark Twain: 'There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.' Those words perfectly encapsulate Riffle’s series of photographs about Riley, Jenny’s long-time boyfriend who spends his idle hours rummaging through the forgotten and discarded in search of said treasure.

Jenny and I attended grad school together at the School of Visual Arts, and I had the unique opportunity to watch this body of work develop and grow into this lovely ode to her partner Riley and his adventurous heart. Coincidentally, when we met we were both working on projects about American mythology and male identity that straddle the line between fantasy and reality. In Scavenger, Jenny follows Riley on his treasure hunts as a patient observer. We note the passing of time through Riley’s wildly changing haircuts and landscapes that take us from the ocean’s edge to deep lush forests. The rusty artifacts and quirky broken baubles he brings home are photographed delicately and free from judgment as to their worth. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And Jenny Riffle is the kind of photographer who speaks volumes about her own feelings and opinions and desires with her empathetic eye and ability to find beauty in everything.

The wonderful irony of Scavenger is that most of what this modern-day Huck Finn finds would be described as worthless junk by many; it is this book and these photographs by Jenny Riffle that are the real treasure. Scavenger is Riffle’s love letter to Riley. And as Mark Twain said, 'The frankest and freest and privatest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter.'"—Sara Macel

Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure HuntingBy Jenny RiffleZatara Press, 2015.
Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure HuntingBy Jenny RiffleZatara Press, 2015.

Sara Macel is an artist, photographer, and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA in Photography, Video & Related Media at the School of Visual Arts and her BFA in Photography + Imaging from NYU. Her work has been internationally exhibited and is in various private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Cleveland Museum of Art, Harry Ransom Center, and the Center of Photography at Woodstock. Sara received the Individual Photographer's Fellowship Grant from the Aaron Siskind Foundation and was named one of PDN's 30 Photographers to Watch in 2015. Her first monograph, May the Road Rise to Meet You, was published by Daylight Books in 2013. A traveling exhibition of that work was shown at the Center for Photography in Woodstock, Houston Center for Photography, and Silver Eye Center for Photography. In addition to her freelance work, Sara currently teaches photography at SUNY Rockland and CUNY Kingsborough. Sara is also co-director of the Brooklyn chapter of the photo non-profit Crusade for Art that works to connect local audiences with emerging art photography through fun and interactive programming.

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