Massachusetts-based photographer Justin Kimball’s (born 1961) Who By Fire considers contemporary American life as it relates to a complex history of economic, religious and political environments. Kimball's work wrestles with the complications of the current moment while trying to imagine the promise of a future that is unknown and tenuous. Unflinching photographs of people in neighborhoods, streets and yards document moments where the burden of the present day visibly presses in upon bodies and physical surroundings, while also conveying the resilience and hope maintained under that weight. The people in these pictures are further contextualized by photographs that point to the visual markers of humanity in the landscape, either unintended or by design: a wall painting of a sun dial, a rising angel nailed to the side of a barn, a woman asleep on a blanket paired with a tree set on fire.
Published by Radius Books. Text by Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa.
This series by photographer Justin Kimball (born 1961) features small towns in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio brought to the brink of obsolescence by the recent financial downturn, capturing their streets, residents and landscapes in photographs both sensitive to their subjects and compositionally striking.
While imbued with social and political subtext, Kimball’s images--of ramshackle buildings against a landscape, a mother and baby on their front porch, roadside church signs and teenagers playing a game of pickup basketball--carry a broader significance. In his depiction of communities faced by hardship, Kimball examines the persistence of hope and the concept of what it means to be human in our modern world. His photographs document a growing--yet often overlooked--portion of the American landscape, providing an impressive portrait of the present day.
Published by Radius Books. Text by Douglas M. Kimball.
For four years Justin Kimball (born 1961) accompanied his brother Doug, an auctioneer, into the houses of the recently deceased or dispersed. While Doug cleared these spaces of items for potential resale, Justin sought within them the evidence of an individual’s life. Photographing “the smallest objects (a note, a box of hair pins, a stain on a pillow),” he reimagines their existence and relationship to their absent owners. “I use the camera's descriptive power and the photographic illusion of truth to create the narrative and inspire feelings about its subject,” he writes of these images. “The resulting photographs are my perception of what happened in those spaces: who lived there? What was hidden and what was seen?” Kimball's color photographs explore the minutiae of everyday life and contemplate our brief and humble legacies before they are cleaned up and cast to the wind. Beautifully produced, Pieces of String comes as a bound paperback held by a thick rubber band inside a wrap-around, board cover that features a tipped-on color image and printed staining effects that evoke the photographs' textures of wear and tear.