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PPP Editions: Killed, Roy Stryker's Rejects

Killed is a book of photographs that were never meant to be published, photographs that Roy E. Stryker of the Farm Security Administration disapproved of. The images, aptly called "killed," bear the marks of a hole punch, like cartoon bullet holes, marking the images as unacceptable.

William E. Jones' first project with these images was the film "Killed," which later was reformatted into the film "Punctured," which can be viewed below.  Starting with the black hole in each image, Jones has created a hypnotic montage of these images, zooming out from the void to reveal the larger image before moving on to the next photograph.  It ties each image together, their marks of disapproval forging a unique perspective on the FSA. Jones' research has now been collected into Killed: Rejected Images from the Farm Security Administration. The book is a history lesson in itself, opening with a great essay explaining the Stryker's role in the FSA and why he went about "killing" images as he did.  It's a fascinating way to look at the other side of the groundbreaking organization, viewed from the administrator's desk rather the photographer's viewfinder.

Punctured from The Paris Review on Vimeo.

 Stryker's aggressive rejection of these images served a number of purposes, and while his reasoning is mostly easily discernable, the holes are strangely telling - mostly of Stryker.  His personality comes out through these punches - not just in his selection of images to kill, but mostly in his choice of placement of the holes.  They aren't just a marker, they're a commentary.

From Killed

From Killed

Jones was searching through the FSA archives looking for something else when he stumbled upon the killed images:
Many (perhaps even most) viewers would find in the archive not a trace of homosexuality, but I refused to believe that it was completely absent from the visual record of the Great Depression.  An historical queer presence must have been documented, if only unconsciously or accidentally, by the photographers of the FSA.
Jones did find images reflective of Depression era homosexuality and these images appear in the book as well, rounding out this fascinating look at some of what is hidden in the FSA archive. The book is organized by photographer, each section opening with the photographer's name and a description and date that refer to the images. The numbered images appear on the black pages dynamically, never seeming to occupy the same space on the page.  The result is a lively book that doesn't treat the images as sacred objects, but as found documents, telling a story of discovery through omission.

The Paris Review Daily has a great article on the project, which you can read here.

See more images and find more information on the book here.