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photo-eye Book Reviews - Best Books: See You Soon

See You Soon, Photographs by Maxwell Anderson. 
Published by Bemojake, 2010.
See You Soon
Reviewed by George Slade
Maxwell Anderson See You Soon
Photographs by Maxwell Anderson
Bemojake, 2010. Hardbound. 96 pp., 60 color illustrations, 9-1/2x7-1/2".

From the perspective of an almost-fifty-year-old man, this is a sweet account of a transient love affair. Someone younger might find it a trifle, insignificant, fluff. But I feel the yearning in the photographs, and the sentiment of ambiguous loss and perplexity that often accompany our early adult loves.

The premise of proximity to one's subject is essential to photography. See You Soon tells a familiar tale about nearness. Each morning for a summer this man, Maxwell, and this woman, Jun, would wake up in the same apartment. They would spend time together, doing whatever twenty-somethings do in and around London, though as he says in his beautifully terse afterword, "We didn't go out much, sometimes we would just read together." Jun smokes a lot, takes naps, smiles endearingly. Maxwell goofs around in the shower, lets Jun give him a drag queen makeover, mostly he's the awe-struck observer.

See You Soon, by Maxwell Anderson. Published by Bemojake, 2010.
See You Soon, by Maxwell Anderson. Published by Bemojake, 2010.
 The memory of such a relationship's details might wax and wane like a green dock light in a Fitzgerald novel. But the book will persist, and the photographs will enduringly proffer their evidence. This is, not incidentally, an ideal application of self-publishing. The relationship may have ended, and Jun and Maxwell may never see, speak to, IM, or Skype each other again. In these pages, he (and, since the text is in Japanese as well as English, she) can reconnect whenever they like. The photographs are bilingual. The image of time and the implication of gestures, expressions, light, postures, and objects will testify to love's presence. What passed for love, at least.

I think I need a cigarette.—George Slade

George Slade is the program manager and curator at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, and the editor of the PRC’s magazine Loupe. He maintains an on-line presence at the PRC’s blog, here on photo-eye, and at re:photographica. Occasionally his writing even appears in print.