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Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo Christian Michael Filardo selects My Last Day At Seventeen by Doug Dubois as Book of the Week.
My Last Day At SeventeenBy Doug Duboisaperture, 2015.
This week's Book of the Week pick comes from Christian Michael Filardo who has selected My Last Day At Seventeen by Doug Dubois from Aperture.

"My Last Day At Seventeen brings me back to Earth. It’s a coming-of-age story that transcends the concept of borders; a memoir for those who know we’re only getting older. In My Last Day At Seventeen, US-born photographer Doug Dubois examines the lives of youth growing up in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. Behind the camera Dubois isn’t the enemy he’s the ally. We start the book by surveying our cast, a few portraits and some shots of the streets, people hanging around outside. Guns are pointed at the camera, children wrestle in front of fires and jump off docks, while others casually roll something to smoke. Despite the intensity, the images are charming, intimate, and warm. Dubois has isolated a moment in time; the adults are gone, and characters emerge.

Dubois rewards us with details, a pair of lavender Nikes, a red straw; he’s setting the mood. Dubois is a veteran — the light is always right, the colors saturated and beautiful. These photos move quickly; boys flip off the camera, dirty clothes fill a bathtub, a girl carves the shape of a star into her forearm with a sharp object, while a young man lifts up his shirt to reveal a tattoo of Christ’s head wrapped in banners reading 'Only God Can Judge Me.' It’s hard not to linger on most images in this hardbound monograph. I can’t imagine them outside of book form. They require more than just a glance, more than just a few minutes. This body of work is one that belongs between a front and back cover.

The photographs are accompanied by graphic illustrations by Patrick Lynch that depict what feel like personal stories of area youth. Lynch’s comics and Dubois’ images are sandwiched between one another throughout the book and create a loose narrative that helps give voice to some of the photographed individuals, divides the photographic sequences up into smaller groups and encourages the viewer to slow down for a moment.

At once, a single image feels joyful, nostalgic, and chaotic. Dubois is unpacking something here; he exists alongside these stories, and it feels like he’s been here before. For a moment the decadence and glory of being young stands still and Dubois presents us with what feels like the truth. This is required reading."—Christian Michael Filardo

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My Last Day At SeventeenBy Doug Duboisaperture, 2015.
My Last Day At SeventeenBy Doug Duboisaperture, 2015.

Christian Michael Filardo is a photographer and composer living and working in Santa Fe, NM. Filardo has worked for VICE magazine, Believer Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and is the current shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore. He is a recent recipient of an honorarium in new music from Oberlin College’s Modern Music Guild. Filardo’s first book, Say My Last Name Softly, a collaboration with Marie Claire Bryant will be released in April 2016 on Holy Page Records.

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