Not just another photobook review
New Mexico and New York a zine by Nick Tauro Jr.
Of all the times we’ve met and hung out I’ve never see Nick with a camera in his hand. So how he drops a book of such intimate work from a long period of time is beyond me. His last book was of an artist in residence he did in Portugal. I followed his journey there on Facebook/Instagram so I kind of expected that book. But this. This was a surprise. And the photographs it contained felt like they were captured by someone who’s camera was glued to them.
Before I get into it, let me warn you that I don’t review things normally. But when I opened the pages of this zine the amount of ideas for my own books that flowed into my brain were overwhelming. So as self serving as it is, this review is more of a list of things I want my next publication to elicit out of it’s readers.
As the title of the zine makes clear, this is about two places; New Mexico and New York. The photographs connect these two distant places in many ways. From the use of black and white 35mm film to close up details of the mundane to heavily contrasted scenes that make me forget location. Instead of location I think of space, time, light. For me, loosing my sense of location is a hard thing to do. I am very much attune to that aspect of work. It is the first thing I really think of when I look at a photograph. When I say heavily contrasted I mean it. The ink seems so thick that you almost expect to have some on your fingertips.
The subjects vary as you turn the pages, but the way that they are shot ties them together. Nick was obviously close to his subjects when he made the photographs yet there is still space in the frame that allows the viewer to explore. Take for example the up close shot of the shirt and pants on a mannequin. You can tell what it is, so he is not too close. But just the back pockets on the white jeans and the mannequin’s hands fill the frame with almost no space around them. This leaves you stuck to explore the lace, the shadow, the texture. There is no escape. And the page next to it shows and out of focus almost abstract scene of light filtering through a tree. I am struck by the impact it has on me. How much I am glued to the pages. Tasting the grain. Waiting for the smell of developer.
The line between books and zines has been all but wiped out. But this to me is a zine and not a photo book. Why? Maybe it is the staples. Maybe it is the grain. Maybe because I feel like I could’ve picked it up in the late 80’s. I can’t say really. But I am sure if you buy one you will know what I mean.
That leads me to the last cool thing about this. Nick made it and then quietly put on his website and Magcloud. He maybe posted about it once or twice on social media (that I saw) but that is it. He isn’t hustling it. He isn’t beating down the Facebook likes for $$. He created and moved on. So only the cool kids who paid attention know about it. I am adding the link to Magcloud below out of appreciation for that. Not because he asked me to.