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Book of the Week: AIRGAP by Drew Brown


Book Of The Week AIRGAP Photographs by Drew Brown Reviewed by Forrest Soper Focusing on the Yale men’s ice hockey team, AIRGAP uses heavy flash and tight composition to create a body of work that is as much a work of science fiction as it is sports photography. Shot dramatically in black-and-white, this work seems more at home in a Ridley Scott film than it does in Sports Illustrated.
AIRGAP By Drew BrownTBW Books, 2018.
AIRGAP
Selected as Book of the Week by Forrest Soper.

AIRGAP. 
Photographs by Drew Brown.
TBW Books, Oakland, USA, 2018. Unpaged, 9¼x12½".


"The vast majority of sports photography that I’ve seen can be placed into one of two categories: documentary or fashion. Whether the photographer is attempting to capture the action and energy of an event or is making portraiture to serve as marketing for a team, most sports photography seems to be primarily focused on making a factual document rather than working with artistic intent. Commercially driven, sports photographers always seemed to be technically brilliant, but their work never evoked a strong sense of artistic vision or intrigue in my eyes. Even when sports photography does have a more artistic influence — such as Annie Leibovitz’s Olympic Portraits or Stephen Shore’s baseball photographs — sports photography always seems to be rooted in reality. An exception can be made for Drew Brown’s first monograph AIRGAP.

AIRGAP By Drew BrownTBW Books, 2018.

Focusing on the Yale men’s ice hockey team, AIRGAP uses heavy flash and tight composition to create a body of work that is as much a work of science fiction as it is sports photography. Shot dramatically in black-and-white, this work seems more at home in a Ridley Scott film than it does in Sports Illustrated. Ice, blood, and sweat alike merge in darkened arenas flooded with LED lights. Young men are put in enigmatic cryotherapy chambers and have breathing apparatuses attached to them as they exercise. Portraits are filled with distant stares and enough protective gear that one can’t help but draw parallels between soldiers. Nets, lights, and arena structures combine to create a futuristic dreamscape. Drew Brown has created a surreal world full of mystery and intrigue.

AIRGAP By Drew BrownTBW Books, 2018.

I was first exposed to the world of hockey during my undergraduate studies. Many of my friends, including my college roommate, were avid fans of the sport, and as a result, I ended up drunkenly watching many games. These games would often end only to have us continue with watching a horror or science fiction film as the night and celebrations continued. In this sense, AIRGAP brings back many fond memories, as these two worlds collide. While my nostalgia was what first drew me to this work, I’ve remained constantly intrigued due to the brilliant originality of the environmental portraits and haunting geometric abstractions that fill the pages.

AIRGAP By Drew BrownTBW Books, 2018.

With thirty-eight images, AIRGAP is a publication that functions almost like an over-sized zine. The images are familiar, yet entirely foreign. Fantasy meets reality, as Brown crafts a world that is both strangely familiar, and yet foreign beyond recognition. I have never seen a body of work that is so heavily focused on sports yet is so experimental and original. AIRGAP is not only the perfect book for a hockey or science fiction fan, but it also is a great example of how photography can be used to view familiar scenes in a new light in order to impart deeper meaning and understanding.

AIRGAP By Drew BrownTBW Books, 2018.

AIRGAP is Drew Brown’s first monograph, and if he continues on his current trajectory, he is sure to have a fruitful career as he challenges and pushes the boundaries of photography. Brown reminds us that we are living in a future that is both beautiful and unsettling, as he creates images that refuse to leave the mind." — Forrest Soper

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Forrest Soper is an artist and photographer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest is the editor of photo-eye Blog, a former photochemical lab technician at Bostick & Sullivan, and a graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

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