Lacuna Park is a collection of written and visual essays by the influential American photographer, writer and curator Nicholas Muellner, best known for his photobooks The Amnesia Pavilions (named one of Time magazine's best photobooks of 2011) and In Most Tides an Island.
The essays gathered here intertwine personal accounts, historical and contemporary criticism, fictional narrative and philosophical inquiry to ask: what is existentially at stake in the making and viewing of photographs?
Created between 2009 and 2019, these writings reflect a decade of epochal shifts in the technologies and contexts of image-making: the growth of smartphones and the ascendance of social media, and the resulting transformations in visual and social culture. This innovative collection traces that historical evolution in image-making through Muellner’s idiosyncratically emotional, humorous and melancholic visual and textual modes. Above all, in these critical and philosophical works, Muellner never abandons the position of the photographer: that person who marks their place in the world—as lover, citizen, artist and witness—by the optical device they hold in their hands.
Lacuna Park contains all of Muellner’s writings on photography. In addition to five new and previously unpublished essays, the collection includes selections published in now out-of-print and hard-to-find works, including a complete reprint of Muellner’s 2009 book The Photograph Commands Indifference.
Nicholas Muellner (born 1969) received a BA in comparative literature from Yale University and an MFA in Photography from Temple University. He is Associate Professor of Photography and Co-Director of the Image Text MFA at Ithaca College and the ITI Press.
Nicholas Muellner’s most recent image-text book journeys through shifting tableaux of exile and solitude in the digital age. Seductive, disorienting, informative and allegorical, In Most Tides an Island is at once a glimpse of contemporary post-Soviet queer life, a meditation on solitude and desire, and an inquiry into the nature of photography and poetry in a world consumed by cruelty, longing, resignation and hope.
This work emerged from two very different impulses: to witness the lives of closeted gay men in provincial Russia, and to compose the gothic tale of a solitary woman on a remote tropical island. Along the way, these disparate pursuits – one predicated on documentation, the other on invention - unexpectedly converged. Shot along Baltic, Caribbean and Black Sea coastlines, distant landscapes met at the rocky point of Alone. From that vista, they ask: what do intimacy and solitude mean in a radically alienated but hyper-connected world?
In Most Tides an Island challenges photographic and literary conventions, collapsing portraiture and landscape, documentary and fiction, metaphor and description into the artist’s distinct form of hybrid narrative. This shape-shifting work is threaded together by the voice of the wandering narrator and the unexpected visual echoes between these far-flung landscapes. A mysterious stream of faceless but expressive online profile pictures further links the divergent stories. These anonymous figures serve as an emotional semaphore, signaling across genres and geographies and between language and image.
Nicholas Muellner is an artist who operates at the intersection of photography and writing. Through books, exhibitions and slide lectures, his projects investigate the limits of photography as a documentary pursuit and as an interface to socio-political and personal narratives. Often focused on a queer experience of the post-Soviet world, his work transforms descriptive accounts into literary dramas, autobiographical reflections, and philosophical inquiries. He received a BA in comparative literature from Yale University and an MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Muellner is Associate Professor of Photography and Co-Director of the Image Text MFA at Ithaca College and the ITI Press.