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Rabbit / Hare: Reviewed by Owen Kobasz


Book Review Rabbit / Hare Photographs by David Billet & Ian Kline Reviewed by Owen Kobasz In this book, butterflies and back hair are equally magical and mundane, as they should be. Qualities of light are equally qualities of sensibility. The human beings in the pictures gently revel in the pleasures of riding horses, or smoking cigarettes, or exposing skin to sun and air.

Rabbit / Hare. By David Billet & Ian Kline.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZJ306
Rabbit / Hare  
Photographs by David Billet & Ian Kline

Deadbeat Club, Los Angeles, CA, 2020. 
72 pp., black-and-white illustrations, 9x11".

In 2017, Pennsylvania natives David Billet and Ian Kline set out on a two-month road trip to and through Texas. Neither photographer had visited the Lone Star State before, but in this trip they sought to avoid some of the more obvious clichés that come with the region— big trucks, cowboy boots, and megachurches to name a few.

“The two of us wanted to see, as singular people and as partners, where we fit into this landscape that held so much influence to our understanding and our elders’ understanding of masculinity, America, and life.”

Although Billet and Kline are not Swiss, with the cultural differences between different regions of America, they are outsiders in a strange new land. Although potentially isolating, this status also brings the beauty of straightforward observation — pure seeing.

Rabbit / HareBy David Billet & Ian Kline.

Paging through the book, a range of emotions arise. Solitude — a man air-boxes with himself through a full wall of mirrors that look out of place among the surrounding office supplies. Warmth is an embrace between two men under stadium lights, or maybe a dance floor — metaphorical stars. Anxiety can be seen in a single eye poking out between heavy curtains, made especially poignant by the opposing photograph of an auditorium with a ‘Stainless Banner’ confederate flag in the corner. Humor inserts itself as a shop named “Heaven’s Depot”, or the unusual pixilated cut out of a butt found on a library shelf. Between these, a woman is reborn through baptism.

Rabbit / HareBy David Billet & Ian Kline.
Through these movements, an overwhelming feeling is that of intimacy. Even in the dark scenes (or maybe, especially the dark moments) vulnerability shines through, and with that understanding.

Now, Rabbit / Hare is at its core a road trip photobook. The cover makes this clear with a horizontal highway landscape. Car-adjacent images appear later — a kitten napping in the shade of the car’s underbelly, a songbird perfectly posed on an unwashed side mirror. Spread throughout the book, these reminders bind the series to the road.

What elevates these images, however, isn’t so much the road trip itself. Rather, it’s the ability of two photographers to provide a varied, humanist vision of a complicated region; images “where butterflies and back hair are equally magical and mundane, as they should be. Qualities of light are equally qualities of sensibility.”



Rabbit / HareBy David Billet & Ian Kline.
Rabbit / HareBy David Billet & Ian Kline.

http://blog.photoeye.com/search/label/Owen%20Kobasz
Owen Kobasz edits the blog & newsletter at photo-eye. He holds a BA in the liberal arts from St. John's College and takes photos in his free time.

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