The Strange World of Willie Seabrook (Excerpt)

The Strange World of Willie Seabrook

By Marjorie Worthington

“Another Toulon Day”

It was about ten o’clock when we reached the hotel. That was pretty early for Toulon, but the big yellow Victorian palace of a place, with ornate chandeliers and Brussels carpeting, seemed very quiet. We almost tiptoed to the door indicated to us, and knocked. A voice asked who was there, and when Willie answered, “Seabrook,” there was a happy laugh and the command, “Entrez.”

It was not a suite, but just one enormous bedroom, with lots of chairs around, a fireplace, and a bar set up on an ormolu cabinet. The princess had expensive tastes and an income much more modest than that of her friends, and she must have been in one of her economy streaks. 

She was wearing a silk pajama suit, the kind that was worn for afternoons and evenings in the South of France at that time. Her bed was fully made, and she was lying on top of the creamy satin spread. At one side of the bed was a table on which was laid a lacquered tray containing all the paraphernalia for smoking opium: a small spirit lamp, a sticky lump of black stuff, and a long, ivory-colored pipe with a small cup-like thing near one end. The little lamp was lighted and she was rolling some of the black gum into a ball, or pill.

“Make yourselves drinks,” she said, waving to the bottles and glasses with her free hand. “Then come and sit near me and tell me what wonderful and scandalous things you have been doing. I am starving for news of you.”

We did as we were told, and Willie talked, telling marvelous tales, some of them true, most of them not. I sat quietly drinking my drink and listening some of the time, and thinking my own thoughts; but mostly I watched the princess, who spent so much time preparing her pipe for what amounted to one deep puff. Being a rather lazy person, I wondered what there was in that puff to make it worth such a long and complicated process. I decided not to find out.

The room became filled with an acrid-sweet smell that mingled with the fumes of the cognac in the glass I held in my hand. Willie had joined the princess on the bed and she was teaching him to fill a pipe. I felt very drowsy. There was a chaise longue in the room, and I settled myself upon it and waited. A musical clock on the mantel chimed the hours of twelve . . . one . . . two . . . three. . . . 

I remember making, or being asked to make, a pot of tea. I found what looked like a solid gold teapot and put it over the alcohol lamp I found near it, and lit the wick. When I remembered about the tea again, the whole beautiful little gold teapot had melted down into a nugget. Evidently I had forgotten to put any water in it. I was very sad about the teapot and told the princess so, but she was off in some exalted region with Willie tagging behind on his own cloud. And it didn’t matter.

The clock went on ringing out the intervals of hours. Through the cracks in the venetian blinds I could see daylight. The murmur of voices had been going on forever: Princess Telle describing her childhood, then her marriage and her happiness, and then her sorrow. I slept through most of it, almost as drugged, by the fumes, as they were by their pipes. And then it was six o’clock, and Willie was standing up and telling me we must go.

We went out very softly; the hotel was not awake. But as we walked down through the city, people began to sweep the sidewalks before the shops and caf.s, and some of them greeted us with a polite “bonjour,” to which we responded. We reached our studio somehow, I leading a remote Willie by the hand most of the way. I didn’t know how many pipes he had smoked, but I knew they were too many for a neophyte. I was worried enough to become heroic and attack the primus stove by myself. I made a large pot of coffee and kept pouring cup after cup until he had drunk enough, I thought, to counteract the opium. Then we slept for a while, and then we woke up and went to our respective typewriters. Another Toulon day had begun.


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Philosophy in the Bedroom (Photography)

Philosophy in the Bedroom
by Sofie Amalie Klougart

Sofie Amalie Klougart: “Philosophy in the Bedroom” is a portrait of the subculture of Danish swingers. I started working on this project in March 2012 and finished in June 2013 with an exhibition in Øksnehallen, Copenhagen. During this period I photographed all of the swingers clubs in Denmark (there were nine at that time), as well as private meetings/events, and interviewed and photographed numerous swingers from across the country.

There are swingers clubs across Denmark located in derelict countryside farms or in the suburbs. The windows are covered with black paint or veiled with dark curtains. When you step inside, you pay an entry fee, put your clothes in a locker, and walk into a bar or common room to meet, talk or have a drink with other people — and then, maybe have sex. Swinging is a sexual activity that can involve partner swapping, group sex or sex with your own partner in other peoples’ presence. In swingers clubs, people aim to explore their own sexuality and inhibitions, either alone or with a partner.

The rooms have sexual themes; one is for tantra sex, one for S/M; there is a doctors’ room and a darkroom.

There are many rules in the clubs. For example, nobody touches anyone without having made a relation or an agreement beforehand. You do not step into other peoples’ sexual acts without an invitation; you always wear protection and always take no for an answer. This way, people try to make sex less complicated. This is a study of a sexual subculture in Denmark, which challenges the traditional monogamous relationship.

This resulted in both snapshot photographs of interiors, noisy digital images of sex, and small texts based on my meetings and conversations with people within the culture, plus sound recordings.


Sofie Amalie Klougart (b. 1987), is a visual artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated as a photojournalist from Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2013. She has exhibited her photographic projects in renowned institutions as well as in more experimental formats. Thematically, her primarily long-term projects revolve around the themes of love and migration. She has been awarded The Danish Press Photo of the Year several times, and in 2012 she was selected for The Joop Swart Masterclass for “Philosophy in the Bedroom.” In 2015 she was selected for The LensCulture Emerging Talent Award with the long term project “Reaching Europe,” raising awareness of the migration crisis. The project was also awarded the journalist stipend from the Danish wing of Doctors Without Borders, and has been exhibited around the world. Visit her website here.

Fourth Floor (Photography)

Fourth Floor
4e étage

by Joseph Charroy

From “Clarita,” a short story by Anna Kavan

I was lying on top of the still unmade bed. I had to get some sleep somehow. I was dead tired, but the rash kept me awake. At last I dozed for a few minutes. Then I was awake again, scratching. All the triangles had somehow collected in the folds of the sheet crumpled under me. They were pricking me with their points, and one had embedded itself in my thigh. The itching was intolerable by the time I'd extracted it, the sheet was burning my back.

I rolled off the bed, and standing there naked, thoroughly scratched my arms and armpits, my navel, my shins. I must have done some pretty thorough scratching before this, while I was still half-asleep, judging by the amount of blood. I was surprised my blunt fingers could produce those long, deep, bleeding furrows, which looked more as if they'd been inflicted by claws. Blood was running down my shins on to the floor and there was blood on the mattress as well as the sheet. 

Clarita appeared, in a long gold dress made of some soft silky stuff with a lustrous sheen and little ripples all over it, like calm water reflecting a sunset and ruffled by a light breeze. I could only think how lovely she looked. She must have said something I didn't hear, because she was gesturing with her hands and the nails flashed in the light. The next thing was that somehow my arm was around her, I was clasping her tight with one hand, while the other hand went on scratching until it hurt, and really I couldn't tell whether her hand or mine was tearing the flesh as I hugged her. I can't explain it. Then she pushed me so hard that I nearly fell over. I thought her beautiful dress must be covered in blood, but there wasn't a spot on it anywhere. That frightening look she had sometimes was on her face, I knew she was furious with me without listening to what she said. 

(from Julia and the Bazooka, published by Peter Owen Modern Classics.)


Joseph Charroy, born in 1982, lives and works in Brussels. After studying modern literature, he taught himself photography; his photographs often depict a wandering state and the passage of time. Check out his small publishing house Éditions Primitive, and his photography books, which were published by Éditions Lamaindonne. Visit his website here, and don't miss the rest of Fourth Floor!

His work is currently being exhibited at the Musée de la Photographie de Bruxelles

Case Nine from Psychopathia Sexualis (Text)

Case Nine from Psychopathia Sexualis

By Richard von Krafft-Ebing

Self-portrait by Austrian painter Richard Gerstl (1883—1908)

Self-portrait by Austrian painter Richard Gerstl (1883—1908)

“He found it absurd, and did not repeat it”

F.J., aged nineteen, student; mother was nervous, sister epileptic. At the age of four, acute brain affections, lasting two weeks. As a child he was not affectionate, and was cold toward his parents; as a student he was peculiar, retiring, preoccupied with self, and given to much reading. Well-endowed mentally. Masturbation from his fifteenth year. Eccentric after puberty, with continual vacillation between religious enthusiasm and materialism — first studying theology, then natural sciences. At the university his fellow students took him for a fool. He read Jean Paul almost exclusively, and wasted his time. Absolute absence of sexual feeling toward the opposite sex. Once he indulged in intercourse, experienced no sexual feeling in the act, found it absurd, and did not repeat it. Without any emotional cause whatsoever, he often had thoughts of suicide. He made it the subject of a philosophical dissertation, in which he contended that it was, like masturbation, a justifiable act. After repeated experiments, which he made on himself with various poisons, he attempted suicide with fifty-seven grains of opium, but he was saved and sent to an asylum.

Patient was destitute of moral and social feelings. His writings disclosed incredible frivolity and vulgarity. His knowledge had a wide range, but his logic was peculiarly distorted. There was no trace of emotionality. He treated everything (even the sublime) with incomparable cynicism and irony. He pleaded for the justification of suicide with false philosophical premises and conclusions, and, as one would speak of the most indifferent affair, he declared that he intended to accomplish it. He regretted that his penknife had been taken from him. If he had it, he would open his veins as Seneca did — in the bath. At one time a friend had given him, instead of a poison as he supposed, a cathartic. Instead of sending him to the other world, it sent him to the bathroom. Only the Great Operator could eradicate his foolish and fatal idea with the scythe of death, etc. 

The patient had a large, rhombic, distorted skull, with the left half of the forehead flatter than the right. The occiput was very straight. Ears far back, widely projecting, and the external meatus forming a narrow slit. Genitals very lax; testicles unusually soft and small. 

The patient occasionally suffered from onomatomania. He was compelled to think of the most useless problems, give himself over to interminable, distressing and worrying thoughts, and become so fatigued that he was no longer capable of any rational thinking. After some months the patient was sent home unimproved. There he spent his time in reading and frivolities, and busied himself with the thought of founding a new system of Christianity, because Christ hd been subject to grand delusions and had deceived the world with miracles (!). After remaining at home some years, the sudden occurrence of a maniacal outbreak brought him back to the asylum. He presented a mixture of primordial delirium of persecution (Devil, Antichrist, persecution, poisoning, persecuting voices) and delusions of grandeur (Christ, redemption of the world), with impulsive, incoherent actions. After five months there was a remission of this intercurrent acute mental disease, and the patient then returned to the level of his original intellectual peculiarity and moral defect.


The unabridged Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard von Krafft-Ebing is listed here, and it is available to purchase new via Bloat Books.

Broken Ground (Photography)

Broken Ground

by Ana Catarina Pinho

Ana Catarina Pinho: “Broken Ground” is a particular landscape developed in the periphery of urban spaces, where a different kind of interaction between man and space is visible.

The idea of borderline and of observing the social and visual differences connected to urban space were the focus of this series, which highlights landscapes and interactions between people and the places they inhabit. The “borderline” is conceived as something directly connected to people and to how their thoughts and behavior about territory and possession lead to separation, misunderstanding, and conflict.

In Broken Ground,” we perceive an intent to unveil certain contemporary social issues and contradictions, relating them to architecture and urban space, putting people—with their expectations and emotions—at the core of the series.

Images of diverse suburban areas belonging to Portugal and Turkey are merged, creating a fictional place that calls attention to the similarities of situations and people of different cultures, showing at the same time the psychological and spatial border that divides people and spaces in many of our contemporary territories.


Ana Catarina Pinho (b. 1983, PT) has a background in Fine Arts and Documentary Photography and Cinema, and she is a practitioner and researcher in photography. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally. In addition, she collaborated as a lecturer in the University of Coimbra and the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and she is currently an FCT research fellow, developing a Ph.D. within the European Centre of Documentary Research at the University of South Wales. She is the founding editor of ARCHIVO, a photography and documentary research platform, which she has coordinated since 2012. Visit her website here.

Dal Mago (Photography)

Dal Mago

by Renato Gasperini

Renato Gasperini turns his wry, intuitive eye on a local restaurant in the small town of Morro d’Alba (in the province of Ancona) in his series “Dal Mago.” Loud, bright reds and yellows predominate: there is red wine, meat ready to be sliced, red curtains, red walls beside painfully yellow walls. Gasperini’s photographs show a surreal, garish place, beautiful and horrifying, its oddness accentuated by periodic portraits of the restaurant’s mysterious former owner. This former owner is the most fascinating aspect of it all, with his peculiar frozen smile, which is echoed in the grimace-smile of the taxidermied fox that has been appointed to guard the liquor. Follow Renato Gasperini’s work, as he continues his excellent, ongoing project to photograph Ancona and the surrounding regions.


Renato Gasperini was born in 1967 in Ancona, Italy. He studied with photographer Guido Guidi, and he was in photography workshops with Davide Monteleone, Giorgia Fiorio, Ferdinando Scianna, Diego Mormorio, Valerio Spada, Gerry Johansson, Joachim Brohm, Peter Fraser, and others. He has been exhibited in galleries throughout Italy, and his work was recently highlighted in the 4th FotoFilmic//PULP Print Showcase in Vancouver. Visit his website here to see more of his work.

Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan (Text)

Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan

By J. G. Ballard

ballard-ronald-reagan-01

At the 1980 Republican Convention in San Francisco a copy of my Reagan text, minus its title and the running side heads, and furnished with the seal of the Republican Party, was distributed to delegates. I’m told it was accepted for what it resembled, a psychological position paper on the candidate’s subliminal appeal, commissioned from some maverick think-tank.
— J. G. Ballard

During these assassination fantasies

Ronald Reagan and the conceptual auto-disaster. Numerous studies have been conducted upon patients in terminal paresis (G.P.I.), placing Reagan in a series of simulated auto-crashes, e.g. multiple pile-ups, head-on collisions, motorcade attacks (fantasies of Presidential assassinations remained a continuing preoccupation, subjects showing a marked polymorphic fixation on windshields and rear trunk assemblies). Powerful erotic fantasies of an anal-sadistic character surrounded the image of the Presidential contender. Subjects were required to construct the optimum auto-disaster victim by placing a replica of Reagan’s head on the unretouched photographs of crash fatalities. In 82 percent of cases massive rear-end collisions were selected with a preference for expressed faecal matter and rectal haemorrhages. Further tests were conducted to define the optimum model-year. These indicate that a three-year model lapse with child victims provide the maximum audience excitation (confirmed by manufacturers’ studies of the optimum auto-disaster). It is hoped to construct a rectal modulus of Reagan and the auto-disaster of maximized audience arousal.

Tallis became increasingly obsessed

Motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan reveal characteristic patterns of facial tonus and musculature associated with homo-erotic behavior. The continuing tension of buccal sphincters and the recessive tongue role tally with earlier studies of facial rigidity (cf., Adolf Hitler, Nixon). Slow-motion cine-films of campaign speeches exercised a marked erotic effect upon an audience of spastic children. Even with mature adults the verbal material was found to have a minimal effect, as demonstrated by substitution of an edited tape giving diametrically opposed opinions. Parallel films of rectal images revealed a sharp upsurge in anti-Semitic and concentration camp fantasies.

with the pudenda of the Presidential contender

Incidence of orgasm in fantasies of sexual intercourse with Ronald Reagan. Patients were provided with assembly kit photographs of sexual partners during intercourse. In each case Reagan’s face was super imposed upon the original partner. Vaginal intercourse with “Reagan” proved uniformly disappointing, producing orgasm in 2 percent of subjects. Axillary, buccal, navel, aural and orbital modes produced proximal erections. The preferred mode of entry overwhelmingly proved to be the rectal. After a preliminary course in anatomy it was found that the caecum and transverse colon also provided excellent sites for excitation. In an extreme 12 percent of cases, the simulated anus of post-colostomy surgery generated spontaneous orgasm in 98 percent of penetrations. Multiple-track cine-films were constructed of “Reagan” in intercourse during (a) campaign speeches, (b) rear-end auto-collisions with one- and three-year model changes, (c) with rear exhaust assemblies, (d) with Vietnamese child-atrocity victims.

mediated to him by a thousand television screens.

Sexual fantasies in connection with Ronald Reagan. The genitalia of the Presidential contender exercised a continuing fascination. A series of imaginary genitalia were constructed using (a) the mouth-parts of Jacqueline Kennedy, (b) a Cadillac rear-exhaust vent, (c) the assembly kit prepuce of President Johnson, (d) a child-victim of sexual assault. In 89 percent of cases, the constructed genitalia generated a high incidence of self-induced orgasm. Tests indicate the masturbatory nature of the Presidential contender’s posture. Dolls consisting of plastic models of Reagan’s alternate genitalia were found to have a disturbing effect on deprived children.

The motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan

Reagan’s hairstyle. Studies were conducted on the marked fascination exercised by the Presidential contender’s hairstyle. 65 percent of male subjects made positive connections between the hairstyle and their own pubic hair. A series of optimum hairstyles were constructed.

created a scenario of the conceptual orgasm,

The conceptual role of Reagan. Fragments of Reagan’s cinetized postures were used in the construction of model psychodramas in which the Reagan-figure played the role of husband, doctor, insurance salesman, marriage counselor, etc. The failure of these roles to express any meaning reveals the nonfunctional character of Reagan. Reagan’s success therefore indicates society’s periodic need to re-conceptualize its political leaders. Reagan thus appears as a series of posture concepts, basic equations which re-formulate the roles of aggression and anality.

a unique ontology of violence and disaster.

Reagan’s personality. The profound anality of the Presidential contender may be expected to dominate the United States in the coming years. By contrast the late J. F. Kennedy remained the prototype of the oral subject, usually conceived in pre-pubertal terms. In further studies sadistic psychopaths were given the task of devising sex fantasies involving Reagan. Results confirm the probability of Presidential figures being perceived primarily in genital terms; the face of L. B. Johnson is clearly genital in significant appearance–the nasal prepuce, scrotal jaw, etc. Faces were seen as either circumcised (JFK, Khrushchev) or uncircumcised (LBJ, Adenauer). In assembly kit tests Reagan’s face was uniformly perceived as a penile erection. Patients were encouraged to devise the optimum sex-death of Ronald Reagan.

ballard-ronald-reagan-02

 

An image from NUDE REAGAN, a photography book by John Brian King.

 

Polaroids from China (Photography)

Polaroids from China

by Sergey MelniTchenko

“The Consciousness of Misery,” from E. M. Cioran’s A Short History of Decay
Translated by Richard Howard 

Everything conspires, elements and actions alike, to harm you. Arm yourself in disdain, isolate yourself in a fortress of disgust, dream of superhuman indifference? The echoes of time would persecute you in your ultimate absences… When nothing can keep you from bleeding, ideas themselves turn red or encroach on each other like tumors. There is no specific in our pharmacies against existence; nothing but minor remedies for braggarts. But where is the antidote for lucid despair, perfectly articulated, proud, and sure? All of us are miserable, but how many know it? The consciousness of misery is too serious a disease to figure in an arithmetic of agonies or in the catalogues of the Incurable. It belittles the prestige of hell, and converts the slaughterhouses of time into idyls. What sin have you committed to be born, what crime to exist? Your suffering like your fate is without motive. To suffer, truly to suffer, is to accept the invasion of ills without the excuse of causality, as a favor of demented nature, as a negative miracle…

In Time's sentence men take their place like commas, while, in order to end it, you have immobilized yourself into a period. 


Sergey Melnitchenko was born in 1991 in Mykolayiv, Ukraine. Today he lives and works in China. He is a member of UPHA – Ukrainian Photographic Alternative. His photography has recently been spotlighted in Feature Shoot, and his first printed publication was Loneliness Online, centering on loneliness and video chats in the modern age. His work has recently been exhibited in Sweden, Israel, Germany, and Chile. Order prints of his work on Eyemazing Editions, and visit his website here

Dove da qui (Photography)

Dove da qui

by Sabina Damiani

Sabina Damiani: This project is a note about (almost) abandoned bus stops. It literally deals with time and the phenomenon of transition (traffic), and it comments on the silent disintegration of the once unique (unified) Istrian peninsula, as well as the cracked connections between the people who inhabit it. The spiritual community of a bus has been, to a large extent, replaced by a deceptive sense of individual, automotive independence: waiting rooms actually become informal monuments of the architecture of an overrun era.

There is a sense of emptiness I tried to capture with this project. A lost bus stop where no buses ever come, an infinite waiting for Godot (or for a better time) that never comes. I was also interested in non-places as Marc Augé depicted them; an impersonal, transitional space that we only see as we go by – we never stop, never think, never meet anyone.


Sabina Damiani was born in Koper, Slovenia, in 1985. She studied Visual Arts and Education at the Fine Art Academy in Venice and gained her MA in Photography at the Fine Art Academy Brera in Milan. Her work could be placed in the intersection of the creation of images and mapping – telling stories, researching collective and personal memories, as well as collective and personal amnesia, narrating the complexities of certain territories and the people who inhabit them. She has exhibited her works internationally and has been featured in a variety of publications, including Ignant, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Fotografia Europea, and Landscape Stories. Visit her website here.

People in General (Fiction)

Short Story from “People in General”

By John Colasacco

Pennsylvania_Station,_NYC,_Waiting_Room,_Cassatt_Statue.jpg

Once I tried to imagine what it would be like to have to say something to my best friend if she were dead. I spent the whole night by the open window, getting dressed and undressed, and it was almost as though many years had passed. After a while I no longer felt qualified to say anything. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror there was something awkward about my body, the way it looked and moved. I used to know what it was but the rain made me forget it. In the morning I went to school, and I moved through the crowd with a piece of fruit in my hand, looking for a table with an empty seat. When I found one I sat down and put the fruit on the table next to me. Suddenly it flew apart, disintegrating into a million little pieces. I listened to the voices all around me; some were laughing, and others were angry, or pretending to be. I asked someone what time it was, and they told me it was only nine o’clock. It felt like I was snowing inside myself. Now I am sitting in the train station again. My hands are freezing cold and I have a stranger sitting near me kicking his feet against the legs of his chair. A minute ago he leaned in close to me, as though he wanted to whisper something private in my ear. Am I thirsty? he wanted to know. I have the same few words going through my head over and over, he said. It’s maddening, but it’s how I learned to speak. I stayed very still and rigid while he told me this, never flinching or turning to acknowledge how close to me he was. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that he was holding something, and from the way he cupped it in his hands I knew that it was probably a lighter and a pack of cigarettes. Sure enough, a second later he settled himself back into his own seat and began tapping the pack against his palm. He peeled away the cellophane and opened up the box, then pulled the foil wrapper out and immediately crumpled it up. I kept waiting for him to put the piece of foil in his pocket or get up to throw it away. He never did though; he’s still holding it now, kicking his feet, with a very faint rumbling sound coming from the back of his throat. Oh, I see, I think to myself, noticing the huge globes of light on top of the old fashioned street lamps standing in the open waiting areas of the station. People file by on their way to the coffee shops and souvenir stands that line the edges of the concourse under these huge, swollen lamps, which don’t need to be as intense or beautiful as this. It reminds me of being home, and leaving the door to the attic open for just second or two, and in that moment while my back is turned feeling certain that one of the cats has just slipped upstairs.

Just then I see a little girl in a pink jacket standing by a white mannequin that’s been stripped of all its clothes. Her feet are pointing in one direction but the rest of her is turned toward me, and she’s looking at me with big, unfocused eyes. I stare back at her for a while, then I stop looking at her, and in my head I see the train station the way it was before it filled with people. There’s moonlight on the floor, pouring down from the skylights, and the huge antique clock on the wall says that it’s 2:40 a.m. There are a few passengers here and there, none of them close by. I watch them moving slowly toward the far end of the terminal. One is a blind man in a heavy winter coat being led by a service dog. When he disappears around a corner I realize that over the past few minutes I’ve gradually become afraid of something. The inside of my mouth hurts, and my hands are so cold now that I wish I’d brought gloves. Just when I feel like I can’t stand it anymore, I look up at the hole in the wall that I thought was a clock, and the last thing I notice is the smell of rice cooking.


John Colasacco’s books include Antigolf, The Information Crusher, Two Teenagers, and the forthcoming The Wagners. Other excerpts from the manuscript People in General can be found in Enclave’s #finalpoems and Dennis Cooper’s blog. Anyone interested in written/artistic collaboration can email at jacolasa@syr.edu.

THE STRANGE WORLD OF WILLIE SEABROOK

COMING IN FALL 2017:
MARJORIE WORTHINGTON’s Memoir

This is the somber, quietly stunning account of American author Marjorie Worthington’s life and relationship with William Seabrook. 

A bestselling writer on the exotic and the occult, Seabrook was an extraordinary figure from the 1920s to the 1940s who traveled widely and introduced voodoo and the concept of the “zombie” to Americans in his book The Magic Island

In 1966, years after his death from suicide, Worthington, a novelist and Seabrook’s second wife, cast her eye on their years living in France as lost-generation expatriates; their time traveling in the Sahara desert (where Seabrook researched his book The White Monk of Timbuctoo); their friendships with Aldous Huxley, Gertrude Stein, and Michel Leiris; and the gradual erosion of their relationship. 

Worthington was with Seabrook in France and later New York when his life became consumed by alcohol, and he took the drastic step of committing himself to a mental institution for a cure; though he wrote about the institution in his book Asylum, he remained an alcoholic. He was also fixated by sadistic games he played with women, which he and the surrealist Man Ray photographed, and which he later viewed as a way to initiate altered psychological states through pain.

The Strange World of Willie Seabrook is an intimate look at the complicated, torturous relationship of two writers. Seabrook was a sadist, yet to Worthington he was also enthralling; he was an alcoholic, but she believed she could protect him. Even after he had hurt her emotionally, she stayed near him. In brilliantly depicted moments of folie à deux, we watch Worthington join Seabrook in his decline, and witness the shared claustrophobic, psychological breakdown that ensues.

Carmen Colombo (Photography)

Photographs by Carmen Colombo

From “Smog,” The Watcher and Other Stories, by Italo Calvino (trans. William Weaver):

Purification was the organ of an Institute, where I was to report, to learn my duties. A new job, an unfamiliar city—had I been younger or had I expected more of life, these would have pleased and stimulated me; but not now, now I could see only the grayness, the poverty that surrounded me, and I could only plunge into it as if I actually liked it, because it confirmed my belief that life could be nothing else. I purposely chose to walk in the most narrow, anonymous, unimportant streets, though I could easily have gone along those with fashionable shop windows and smart cafés; but I didn’t want to miss the careworn expression on the faces of the passersby, the shabby look of the cheap restaurants, the stagnant little stores, and even certain sounds which belong to narrow streets: the streetcars, the braking of pickup trucks, the sizzling of welders in the little workshops in the courtyards: all because that wear, that exterior clashing kept me from attaching too much importance to the wear, the clash that I carried within myself.

But to reach the Institute, I was obliged at one point to enter an entirely different neighborhood, elegant, shaded, old-fashioned, its side streets almost free of vehicles, and its main avenues so spacious that traffic could flow past without noise or jams. It was autumn; some of the trees were golden. The sidewalk did not flank walls, buildings, but fences with hedges beyond them, flower beds, gravel walks, constructions that lay somewhere between the palazzo and the villa, ornate in their architecture. Now I felt lost in a different way, because I could no longer find, as I had done before, things in which I recognized myself, in which I could read the future. (Not that I believe in signs, but when you’re nervous, in a new place, everything you see is a sign.)


Carmen Colombo was born in 1991. After earning a degree in Photography and Visual Arts at the Istituto Europeo di Design, in 2013 she attended a documentary course at Luz Academy in Milan. She is currently living and working in Milan as a freelance photographer; she is also developing her personal portfolio. She exhibited some of her works at the Photofestival Milano (2012) and at the Jitterbug Gallery in Paris (2016). Her project “Al di qua delle montagne” has been recently selected for the Emerging Talent Awards 2016, and it was exhibited at the Macro Museum in Rome in December 2016. Next March she will publish a book from her work “Al di qua delle montagne” together with Balter Books, a publisher from Turin. Visit her website here.

Sand (Short Story)

Sand
by Rav Grewal-Kök

johnbrianking-sickcity

For eight years, or ten, the world outside her apartment was a stage. In the subway, people looked at her with envy or admiration—her slender ankles and wrists, her beautiful hair. At work, her colleagues listened for her voice in the hallways. Strangers held doors for her and offered their seats. Bartenders didn’t let her wait when she raised her hand at the counter. She led the kind of city life a teenager in a dying town might recognize from a television show, and want for herself.

Each August she left the city to go to the shore with a man. Often she didn’t know the man very well, but for two weeks they spent their days next to each other on plastic chairs on the sand wearing almost nothing. They read intelligent magazines, sipped fruit-flavored cocktails, rubbed lotion onto each other’s backs, and talked about the delightful weather. Twice each day during those two weeks—once in the morning and once in the afternoon—the woman walked from her plastic chair to the water’s edge. She let the waves lap over her toes but went no farther. At night the woman and man ate dinner at a restaurant. They drank another cocktail, shared a bottle of pink wine, and talked about the weather they hoped for the following day. Then they returned to their hotel room, took off all their clothes, and got into bed.

After these vacations, what the woman remembered most fondly was not the sun, the water on her toes, the cocktails, wine, food, or bed, and certainly not the man, but her walks from the plastic chair to the surf and back. Sometimes she slipped off her shoes while she sat at her desk and imagined that she was once again at the shore. She loved the fact that sand wasn’t anything more than rocks that had crumbled into dust. And she loved that when she walked on sand she sank only a little with each step, before the softness turned to steel under her feet.

• • •

One year, to her surprise, there was no man to go with her to the shore. So she went by herself to sit almost naked on a plastic chair on the sand. At first, she walked twice each day to the surf and back, as she’d always done. But with no one waiting for her in a plastic chair of his own, she began to wander. Soon she circled the beach for an hour at a time. Her mind was clear now that she was alone. As the days passed, she set aside her cocktails, lotion, and intelligent magazines. She realized that since walking on sand was the best part of her vacation, she should do more of the walking, and less of everything else.

The next year she signed up for a hiking tour of the desert near the city where she lived. The sand in this desert wasn’t as pure as the sand at the shore—it was marked by cactuses, boulders, and even the occasional coyote skeleton—but she was happy there was so much of it. Still, the other hikers distracted her with their chatter. She couldn’t keep her mind clear. On the third day of the tour, as she walked behind a man and two women who were talking about musical theater so loudly they were almost shouting, she decided she needed to visit a desert in a foreign country whose language she didn’t know.

A year later she flew to such a country and joined a tour through a desert much larger than the one near the city where she lived. This desert was flat and without shade. It would have been dangerous for tourists to walk under all that sun, so they rode camels instead. The other tourists talked among themselves. They gestured, laughed, and posed for pictures. One man sang arias from beneath a wide-brimmed hat. The animals emitted a terrible stench. Despite all this, the woman passed her first day in a state that was almost tranquil. Because she didn’t understand what the tourists were saying or singing, she found it possible to ignore them. After she sprayed perfume on her scarf, she could forgive her camel its smell. When the group stopped for the night, and while the guides boiled lentils and barbecued a goat, the woman took off her shoes to walk around the campsite. It was only then that she realized she hadn’t yet found the right desert. The sand was full of hidden rocks and even beetles.

For her next vacation, she planned a trip to the biggest desert she could find on the globe she kept on her bookshelf. She arranged for someone to meet her at an airport on the desert’s edge. She stepped out of the plane into a vast but empty terminal. A man in a blue jacket and cap stood waiting with a sign that had her name on it. She followed him to his car. Silently, he drove out of the airport and onto a highway that, within minutes, was empty of traffic. The sun dropped behind them. The land turned red, then black. The woman fell asleep.

She woke up the next morning with the sun in her eyes. They had stopped where the highway stopped, at the foot of a dune that seemed to her as tall as a mountain. The driver, who was already standing outside the car, held the door open. The woman got out, took off her shoes, and began to walk. The sand still held the night’s coolness. It was smoother and softer than any she had stepped on before. She had walked only a few yards from the car when she found herself sinking to her ankles. With each step of her climb she sank deeper. Soon the sand reached her knees. She was halfway up the dune when she realized that this desert—the greatest desert, formed of the purest sand—was an ocean. She hoped to reach the top, and to see it all, before she plunged beneath.


Rav Grewal-Kök’s stories and essays have appeared in the New England Review, Missouri Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Hunger Mountain, online at The White Review, and elsewhere. He was a National Endowment for the Arts fellow in 2016. He is a fiction editor at Fence and lives in Los Angeles, where he is working on a novel.

Featured image from the series “Sick City” by John Brian King.

Atlas (Photography)

Atlas

by Mélanie Desriaux

From Diaries 1914–1923, by Franz Kafka (trans. Martin Greenberg):

June 25, 1914. I paced up and down my room from early morning until twilight. The window was open, it was a warm day. The noises of the narrow street beat in uninterruptedly. By now I knew every trifle in the room from having looked at it in the course of my pacing up and down. My eyes had traveled over every wall. I had pursued the pattern of the rug to its last convolution, noted every mark of age it bore. My fingers had spanned the table across the middle many times. I had already bared my teeth repeatedly at the picture of the landlady’s dead husband.

Toward evening I walked over to the window and sat down on the low sill. Then, for the first time not moving restlessly about, I happened calmly to glance into the interior of the room and at the ceiling. And finally, finally, unless I were mistaken, this room which I had so violently upset began to stir. The tremor began at the edges of the thinly plastered white ceiling. Little pieces of plaster broke off and with a distinct thud fell here and there, as if at random, to the floor. I held out my hand and some plaster fell into it too; in my excitement I threw it over my head into the street without troubling to turn around. The cracks in the ceiling made no pattern yet, but it was already possible somehow to imagine one. But I put these games aside when a bluish violet began to mix with the white; it spread straight out from the center of the ceiling, which itself remained white, even radiantly white, where the shabby electric lamp was stuck. Wave after wave of the color—or was it a light?—spread out toward the now darkening edges. One no longer paid any attention to the plaster that was falling away as if under the pressure of a skillfully applied tool. Yellow and golden-yellow colors now penetrated the violet from the side. But the ceiling did not really take on these different hues; the colors merely made it somewhat transparent; things striving to break through seemed to be hovering above it, already one could almost see the outlines of a movement there, an arm was thrust out, a silver sword swung to and fro. It was meant for me, there was no doubt of that; a vision intended for my liberation was being prepared.


Born in 1981 in La Rochelle, Mélanie Desriaux lives and works in Paris. She graduated from the School of Fine Arts (Rennes, France, 2006), and completed the Higher Competitive Exam in Education and the Visual Arts, with Photography as a major subject (Aix-en-Provence, France, 2010). Mélanie Desriaux now shows her work in France and abroad. From 2006 to 2012, she exhibited her work at Le Radar Gallery (Bayeux, France), Art & Essai Gallery (University of Rennes 2, France), and the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. Her photographs of the prison of Saint-Martin (Ré island, France) were selected by Carceropolis and are regularly published by the Prison International Observatory. In 2015, she won a scholarship for a wandering photographic tour in the United States. A year later, she was selected by Pascal Amoyel to exhibit her work on the Oregon Trail in Bowen Island (Vancouver, Canada) for FotoFilmic // PULP Gallery & Store. Her work is published by C41 and Camera Infinita, among other outlets. Visit her website here.

Desert Mass (Short Film)

Desert Mass

by John Brian King

Desert Mass is a new short film by John Brian King, art photographer and director of the feature film Redlands. In Redlands, King eschewed typical film editing techniques, featuring instead eight-minute scenes without any camera movement or cutting. Reviewer Angeliki Coconi commented on Redlands: “[It] sits still while everything happens. It doesn’t follow its characters — it watches them. It doesn’t admire or criticize them; it simply looks at them.”

Filmed in Palm Springs, California, King’s latest work Desert Mass focuses on the strange, the disorienting, and the decaying. Its austere style, reminiscent of Redlands, often takes on a dream-like quality, and the accompanying hypnotic organ music underscores the film’s theme of a Satanic mass in an arid, artificial land. Interspersed between alienating landscapes, filmed with the detachment of a wandering traveler, are scenes of two women, each alone in an anonymous hotel room — their distress, which is never explained, surreally related to the unease of the city. It is a brilliant, unconventional work, which you can watch in full above!


John Brian King is the photographer of LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84 and Nude Reagan, both available from Spurl Editions. He is the writer and director of the art house film Redlands (2014) and the short film Model Test (2016). Visit his website here, and check out his latest photography series Sick City.

We will be selling John Brian King’s two photo books at the Philadelphia Art Book Fair on May 5 and 6. Come see us!

Source: https://vimeo.com/213617980

Alain Greloud (Photography)

Hôtel de la baie des trépassés
(Bay of the Dead Hotel)

by Alain Greloud

Located between the Pointe du Raz and the Pointe du Van, the Bay of the Dead (Baie des Trépassés) derives its name from a misinterpretation of the Breton Boe An Aon, or bay of the river, into Boe An Anaon, bay of lost souls.

On the beach, a hotel. The Bay of the Dead Hotel, the hotel of “the bay of lost souls.” It is this name that serves as my mantra, and which, throughout this series, will be there like an inner incantation between the seclusion of the room and the harshness of the sea elements. It is the subtitle for each photograph I take. — Alain Greloud

Située entre la pointe du Raz et celle du Van, la Baie des Trépassés tient son nom d'une déformation du breton Boe An Aon, baie du ruisseau, en Boe An Anaon, baie des âmes en peine.

Sur la plage, un hôtel. L'hôtel de la Baie des Trépassés, hôtel de “la baie des âmes en peine”. C'est ce nom qui me sert de mantra, qui tout au long de cette série, sera là comme une incantation intérieure entre l'enfermement de la chambre et la rudesse des éléments marins. Il est le sous-titre de chaque photo que je prends.


Alain Greloud lives and works in Paris. With a degree in journalism, he now works exclusively as a freelance photographer. Greloud’s personal photographic research is influenced by travel and literature. More contemplative and narrative than informative, his photos – tinged with solitude – are often polysemous and leave much room for reflection and the imagination. If his work is sometimes marked by the notable absence of human presence, he also treats the theme of humanity more directly through portraiture, notably Man’s place in his environment and the body’s place in spaces. Alain Greloud thinks of photography as poetic introspection, a reflection on the world around us that we often do not know how to see. His work is distributed by the Plainpicture Agency. Visit his website here.

Portraits of Spurl

Portraits of Spurl

Andy Adams @FlakPhoto

Andy Adams @FlakPhoto

Kim Cooper @kimcooper / Larry Edmunds Bookshop @LarryEdmunds1

Kim Cooper @kimcooper / Larry Edmunds Bookshop @LarryEdmunds1

Edward Carey @EdwardCarey70 / bought at @MalvernBooksTX

Edward Carey @EdwardCarey70 / bought at @MalvernBooksTX

Naomi Fry @frynaomifry

Naomi Fry @frynaomifry

Stephen Sparks @rs_sparks / Point Reyes Books @PointReyesBooks

Stephen Sparks @rs_sparks / Point Reyes Books @PointReyesBooks

Alex Maslansky / Stories Books @StoriesEchoPark

Alex Maslansky / Stories Books @StoriesEchoPark

Kliph Nesteroff @ClassicShowbiz

Kliph Nesteroff @ClassicShowbiz

Grafiche Morandi

Grafiche Morandi

Clare Kelly @NewAgeSext

Clare Kelly @NewAgeSext

Denise Enck / Empty Mirror @EmptyMirror

Denise Enck / Empty Mirror @EmptyMirror

John Coulthart @johncoulthart

John Coulthart @johncoulthart

Kathleen Graulty and Julian Lucas / Mirrored Society @MirroredSociety

Kathleen Graulty and Julian Lucas / Mirrored Society @MirroredSociety

Small Press Distribution @spdbooks / New Museum @newmuseum

Small Press Distribution @spdbooks / New Museum @newmuseum

John Coulthart @johncoulthart

John Coulthart @johncoulthart

J. M. Schriber @roughghosts

J. M. Schriber @roughghosts

Ed Turner / Biblioklept @biblioklept

Ed Turner / Biblioklept @biblioklept

Thank you to all of the wonderful, sensational artists who have taken part in PORTRAITS OF SPURL, and who are are not ashamed to read and sell our misfit books!

Beatrice Migliorati (Photography)

Photographs by Beatrice Migliorati

How did you begin taking photographs?

I remember I was in a tiny train station waiting room in Trento, waiting for a three-hour train ride back home. I was sitting there, bored, and I saw these brown chairs – four in a row – just in front of me, with a light gray marble wall behind them. It was so simple yet so strong and evocative: probably because that setting was pretty anachronistic, I felt like I was back in the ’70s. I started photographing it with my phone but it was so disappointing, I felt the need to have more control over the creation in order to better express what I was living. I really felt like “writing things down” without using words, communicating through impressions. A couple of months later I started using a film camera and studying a lot, teaching myself. I try hard to embrace and translate into photography the feeling a place could evoke.

What is your photographic process like? Do you carry your camera with you everywhere, working spontaneously, or plan your photographs in advance?

I’m really bad at planning when it comes to photography: I usually write down some general ideas for a series but I only photograph when I feel the need. When I worked on Saturday nights I used to go out, as normal, carrying the tripod and the cameras and eventually stopping to photograph; I had some subjects I wanted to photograph, but my ideas mainly came spontaneously by looking out the car window. I always go around with at least a camera, anywhere I go, even to the supermarket or to university. I can’t help doing it in this way, I can’t predict how the light will look like so I need to be ready even when I’m out for the most banal errands.

Why do you photograph on film?

I started with film when I was about 14; my parents gave me a Lomo camera and I enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately it broke after a while and I gave up. I tried several times with digital but it never worked out for me. I think film throws me into reality: analog photography turns a real moment into an existent object, it’s not a mere and inconsistent simulacrum, it has substance. And it made me much more patient and careful.

Who are some photographers (or other artists) who have influenced you? How have they influenced you?

Among the photographers I really admire are William Eggleston, Todd Hido and Wolfgang Tillmans, all for different reasons: Eggleston taught me that everything is worth a portrait and that there are no poor subjects, he helped me become aware of prosaic and daily scenes; Hido helped me in creating the groundwork for potential stories, starting from evocative sceneries that drag you into the space, making you feel the subject of that piece of reality. Tillmans’ work, especially the still lifes and portraits, helped me to focus on details and close-ups, to get physically and emotionally closer to the subject, leaving aside for a moment the environmental space.

I really like music as well and I mainly listen to Italian music because I often translate the songs into images automatically. I hope to work on that soon.

What are some subjects that you do not (or would not) photograph? Why is that?

I wouldn’t set any limit, I often change my mind and go back to things that initially didn’t feel right to me – I’m currently trying black-and-white film for the first time. All those opportunities actually thrill me, there’s always something new to explore, from different points of view. The only limit I have is myself. Taking photos of people, for example, is really difficult for me because I feel I can’t fake it, I need a connection with the people I portray so we need to get to know each other, I need to sit down, have a coffee and a long chat and make sure that the person I would like to photograph is comfortable with it.


Beatrice Migliorati was born in 1996 in a small village in northern Italy. She lived in Scotland for one year and she is currently living in Bologna, where she studies philosophy. Follow her work on her Instagram, Flickr, and Tumblr.

Beatrice Migliorati’s photographs will be displayed at Galetér di Nadia e Rachele from April 1st to April 22nd, and at a bookshop in Reggio Emilia, Italy, as part of the Fotografia Europea Festival from May 5th to July 15th.

Some Perspective (Short Story)

Some Perspective

By Ari Braverman

The jet arcs over the plains, carrying the woman toward her family obligation. The closer she gets to her native geography the more raw and receptive she becomes.

Once, years ago, her English teacher said, “If you poke me, do I not squeak?”

It’s like that, the woman thinks, except it’s the world poking, and she’s in public so she can’t make a sound. This is perhaps a side effect of contemporary living: she, a human animal, was never meant to travel so quickly.

Now everything hurts and feels good at the same time.   

The woman interprets the interior of the plane as a vast, communal living room.

Right before takeoff, a young man in a cropped Capote coat had sauntered toward her down the aisle. His khaki-colored hair swept back toward his crown. The passenger drew herself up taller in her seat, prepared to make conversation because his beauty convinced her he was a good person. But he had swung into row seven and the woman walking behind him—effortless, long-limbed, dark, chic even in sweatpants—folded herself into the same compartment. When she pulled a handful of natural hair out of her collar and pushed it over her shoulder, the woman could smell her perfume.

“Yeah, babe, you’re right as per usual,” said this other passenger. “But the point is that I didn’t know that I didn’t know those things. So how could I have done differently?” And she leaned over to kiss the handsome man with her whole mouth.

Hearing an admission of such a human foible from someone so glamorous, the woman decided she adored them both.

Now, twenty-thousand feet over the surface of the earth, instead of reading her book, she watches them cuddle and share a water bottle. From behind, she can almost believe their cheekbones convey a moral message. It is obvious they have money but it doesn’t matter whether it is earned or inherited; their grace remains the same.

After a while they settle down into a single shape, sharing a long gray scarf like a blanket.

With only thirty minutes from touch-down, they still haven’t moved. The passenger retrieves two mandarins from her carry-on, peels and eats them both, feeling furiously, swallowing the seeds.

Back home, she lives with her own lover in a small house on a cul-de-sac. She thinks of his small teeth and predictable sense of humor. Of his reliability and scrotum. Her phone contains a message in which he bids her a safe flight, as though his courtesy could prevent a plane crash.

Still staring at the couple in row seven, the passenger considers that such a finale might be the best way to go. The least-lonely option. A surge of filial adoration warms the inside of her body. She thinks about the community the three of them might make among themselves, if only they knew she was there, behind them, brimming with love. She imagines touching their bodies as the plane tumbles out of its trajectory, the imminence of death obliterating the personal boundaries that have always disappointed her.

She’d tell them: “I very much believe in God, but only when things are going bad for me,” and afterward her heart would be light. Her new companions would nod silently, thrust beyond language by the extremity of their situation, grateful for her honesty. The woman might smooth the hair away from her temples, or push a tear away from the bridge of her nose. She thinks of their arms around her amidst all the noise, the rushing air, the alarms, the nausea, the crying, the ugliness in everyone’s face.

Her row-mate, a fat person whose elbow has colonized the armrest for an hour, does not factor into this fantasy because it is erotic.

The peels have become sticky in the passenger’s fist but she can’t drop them onto the floor and won’t allow herself to hide them in the chair pocket at her knees. The barf-bag is long gone; she needs a trashcan.

She decides to take her refuse to the bathroom in order to walk past the couple, up and down the aisle, to force them, gently, to contend with her presence as she has contended with theirs. A tiny reckoning. To know for certain if she could ever belong to their little family, if only for the duration of the crash.

Standing, though, she can see their eyes are closed. She sits back down.

Looking out the porthole window, the passenger believes she can comprehend the vastness of the North American continent. Frontage roads parcel the winter farmland into squares, where thicker lines indicate an occasional highway, all of it bound by a single unknown county.

When she looks up again, the couple in row seven has shifted positions and she can see their hands again. The man’s wedding ring—big, custom-made—glitters in the overhead light. The passenger takes a photograph of it on her phone.

The voice, when it comes to her, resonates with the round tones of her own heritage.

“Cute, aren’t they?” he says.

“I’m sorry?”

“It’s nice, right? Seeing a happy couple. It’s a rare thing, anymore.”

“What?”

“Would you like something to drink? Coffee, tea, pop?” This final word strikes her. She wants to laugh until her jaw falls off. Pop. Pop!

“I have these.” Her voice cracks and she shows the flight attendant her sticky handful.

“I’m sorry, hon, I’m only doing beverage service right now,” he says. Wrinkles frame his mouth and deepen when he smiles. The skin along his jaw looks loose, like her mother’s. Is he laughing at her? She wants to touch his hand, explain herself and the photo, but says instead “Well I’ll probably be here when you come back.”


Ari Braverman is from Iowa City and Denver by way of New Orleans. She was awarded a 2015 De Alba Fellowship from Columbia University, was a semi-finalist in the 2016 American Short(er) Fiction Contest, and was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Some of her recent stories have appeared in BOMB, in the newest issue of Tammy Journal and at SmokeLong Quarterly. She is an assistant editor for Conjunctions and lives in Harlem, New York.

Monopoly (Photography)

Monopoly

By Mike Osborne

Mike Osborne on his series: Monopoly is set in Atlantic City and revolves around the historical connection between the city’s street grid and the iconic board game’s properties. Like Floating Island, which was published in 2014, the project is about the site and its history as well as the use of photography as a means of modeling the world. Originally inspired by “The Search for Marvin Gardens,” a 1972 essay by John McPhee, Monopoly translates the game board’s map into photographs that grapple with Atlantic City’s complicated past and present. This gesture of converting abstractions—the purple rectangles known as Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, for example—into carefully rendered representations of actual places is mildly absurd but also serious, an oblique means of reflecting on the problems that have plagued many American cities over the last half-century.

Osborne notes that his statement was written well before Trump’s candidacy and election. The project was shot mostly between 2012 and 2014, and looking back, he explains that he “inadvertently tracked the demise of Trump’s casinos. While working on the photographs and a related video piece, Trump Plaza and, more recently, the Trump Taj Mahal closed.”


Mike Osborne is a photographer living in Austin, Texas. His work touches on a range of themes including architecture, landscape, history, and technology, ultimately taking the form of books and exhibitions. His first book, Floating Island, was published in summer 2014. Follow his work on his website here.