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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 Election Eve by William Eggleston as Book of the Week.
Election Eve. By William Eggleston Steidl, 2017.
Christian Michael Filardo selects Election Eve, by William Eggleston, from Steidl, as Book of the Week.

"Life used to be simple. Now it’s a little less simple and a lot more complicated. I started my viewing experience of Eggleston’s Election Eve like any logical person would, with four glasses of red wine.

It’s easy to think that things could have been different after any election. However, the night before the results are announced is a night that one remembers. It’s like the day before a baby is born, or the day you forget to put the trash on the curb. You can accept it, or you can regret it. For the most part, I’ve always been a fan of William Eggleston. Election Eve is as much about the American as it is about Eggleston. Unlike many Americans, however, Eggleston likes to stop and smell the roses. He doesn’t drive directly to his destination, rather he stops and takes his time. Photographing the crippled trees, the dilapidated houses, the fish fries, and empty lots.

America was different back then. Nowadays you can still go on for miles and not see a damn thing. However, you’re never too far away from a gas station or advertisement trying to warp your perception of reality. What does it really mean to elect a President of the United States of America? Do the trees notice the difference? Towards the end of this monograph, Eggleston photographs a number of churches that I don’t think he’d step foot in. I don’t perceive him to be a man of the lord. However, the picture Eggleston takes of a basketball hoop in this book feels as close to god as any image he’s made.

I suppose what I am trying to say here, is that William Eggleston cuts through the crap. He is the photographic wizard we all perceive him to be. He waves his wand at the mundane and it becomes important or beautiful. To think of this body of work as the result of a presidential election would be a mistake. Rather, I like to think about it as the result of an experience that an individual chose to embark on in search of answers that the press was not giving him. Eggleston wanted to be reminded what it felt like to drive, he wanted to remember what America dreams about at night. When the sun goes down, and the light fades from vision, and there is nothing left but a tree swaying in the humid breeze of the Georgian plains. Election Eve isn't about a specific Election, it’s about the mortality of a nation. It illustrates what it means to cast the ballot, to roll the dice, to take a chance on the land of freedom." — Christian Michael Filardo

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Election Eve. By William Eggleston Steidl, 2017.
Election Eve. By William Eggleston Steidl, 2017.

Christian Michael Filardo is a Filipino American photographer, curator, and composer living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This year they released their second book The Voyeur’s Gambit through Lime Lodge. Currently, they help run the gallery and performance space Etiquette and write critically for photo-eye and Phroom. Filardo is the current shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore.