a man and a camera
March 5, 2009 12:25 PM   Subscribe

He has documented Pine Ridge; worked extensively in Pakistan and Afghanistan for the last several years; as well as hitchhiking across Siberia.
Aaron Huey is a photographer.
(link is flash; you can navigate from inside of it by clicking down the sidebar.)
He has walked across America with his dog Cosmo, whilest keeping a journal. He also has a blog. Here are is a taster of his work. Last april Verve Photo named him as one of the new breed of documentary photographers. (There are links to many others on the right sidebar)
posted by adamvasco (14 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
i like the photography a lot. also, i have never been to a lot of the places he's chosen to work in. but after seeing the "america" series, i sure as shit don't expect them to be very much like what's in these photographs.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 12:41 PM on March 5, 2009

Pictures look like America to me.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2009

Thanks for this. Been looking for something nice to read all day.
posted by sacrifix at 1:35 PM on March 5, 2009

but after seeing the "america" series, i sure as shit don't expect them to be very much like what's in these photographs.

Probably not if you go to New York. But yeah, a lot of the America pictures are perfectly normal and representitive, with a bit of a bias to the, ah, trailer park side of things.

Neat photos.
posted by cj_ at 1:42 PM on March 5, 2009

"Aaron Huey grew up in a small town in Wyoming on the edge of a field that grew both beets and barley" (source) - I think this may have tempered his idea of what America is. That, or he finds the rural / run-down side of things more appealing.

Also, if his America series was shot while he walked across the nation, there's a lot more rural America to see than urban.

I like most of them (and some are utterly stunning), but I feel he uses the darkened image effect/ filter/ whatnot too often. Maybe it works better at the gallery scale (check the Prints for Sale link). And I felt that his Satanic Peruvian Shaman Face Warmers photos were more of the causal photo blog sort of images, which was an odd juxtaposition between the breath-taking and the almost mundane.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:09 PM on March 5, 2009

well, to me they don't show a particularly representative slice of america, and instead seem intended to capture only a very narrow and somewhat exaggerated picture of backwards yokeldom. i would assume the other sets have been similarly filtered for whatever their desired effect. sorry if i've come off sounding negative or am stating something painfully obvious here - i like these pictures and appreciate the link.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 2:13 PM on March 5, 2009

Oh I like these. Looks like he gets really intimately involved in his photography too. I can only imagine what sort of conversations surrounded the before and after he took some of those shots. He looks like he gets to know his subjects. Really fun stuff. Thanks!
posted by dog food sugar at 3:02 PM on March 5, 2009

These are gorgeous, and for once (on a photography site) the navigation doesn't make me want to yank my hair out.

If I took pictures of what represents America - to me - they would almost all be urban shots, and most of the people would be nonwhite, since that's the America I see most.

I didn't interpret his pictures as "backwards yokeldom", although there was a strong element of (deliberate, I assume) otherness to them. But there's truth to them as well; many people in America are poor, many of them look "weird" to those of us who don't live the way the people in the photos do, etc.

Any photographer's choices - what to shoot, what to print - are necessarily going to be narrow and exaggerated, because it's one person's vision.

Thanks for the post.
posted by rtha at 3:07 PM on March 5, 2009

The Pine Ridge ones are heartbreaking.

That area has a 75%-95% unemployment rate, and the little border town of White Clay (population 14) sells more than $4 million dollars of alcohol to Pine Ridge's residents every year. The pictures tell the story well.
posted by Ostara at 3:35 PM on March 5, 2009

the pine ridge photos will be familiar to anyone who has lived near or on pretty much any reserve in north america. the problems on pine ridge are epidemic in scale - not merely "representative" - but for most people they're completely out of sight. which, i suppose, is the purpose of the reserve system in the first place.

his photos really bring it home.
posted by klanawa at 4:47 PM on March 5, 2009

Enjoyed the walk across America with Cosmo. Walking with a pack dog is really cool but not as easy as it looks. The problem is the dogs are so damn strong they can run off. This dog looked older or really calm or just wiped out.
posted by stbalbach at 5:08 PM on March 5, 2009

I haven't even looked at the photos yet because I can't stop reading. Horrible nights in smalltown America, and then stories like this (journal 4, p 120):

Walking into town. A pickup truck. A man yells out the window. Wants to know if I enjoyed the hamburgers last night. Yes, sir, thank you kindly. "Name’s Kelby, Kelby Holsapple." Wants to know if he can give me something to protect Cosmo’s feet. Meet you at the Amish breakfast buffet up the road.

And then the white van from last night is here. The grandparents. Charles and Millie. Kelby is their son. The family had, at the request of grandpa Charles, gone out looking for me at 5 am this morning but did not see me under the trees where I slept so they drove a good 20 miles looking for me. Grandpa Charles’ radio handle is Captain Hook. He lost his right hand in an accident at Crane Naval Ammunition Depot, where he blocked and braced bombs on freight trains using a giant radial arm saw. He’s never complained about it once. He woke up in the hospital and said "Is it gone?" Then went back to sleep. When he woke up again, he said "Well, you’d better get me a pen and paper." They asked why. "Because I gotta learn how to write my name." He never went into a depression, in fact, 6 months later he was back working the same job, holding the hammerhead in his hook, and taping the handle to his arm. It has never stopped him from doing anything, and it has never affected his attitude towards life. So, today the Captain wanted to find me. And so did grandma Millie. Because they imagined what it would be like to have a son or grandson doing what I am doing. I have been adopted again.

Thank you for the link. I'm looking forward to seeing the photos after I finish reading.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:31 PM on March 5, 2009

Re the America series (shot in 2002); from Aaron Huey's overview (link at the bottom of the page) " I hope you find these images uncomfortable ".
posted by adamvasco at 11:44 PM on March 5, 2009

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