A Young Person Recommends... The Home Front
I first came about this book whilst researching potential designs for a personal project that I was undertaking involving publishing my own book. Having not previously come across Graves, I was taken by the spontaneity of his shots and the personal touch evident throughout the book.
‘The Home Front’ explores the San Francisco area during the 1960’s and 70’s. A time in which the American society was focused on the Vietnam war, Kenneth Graves explored what was taking place on his home turf. The images depict a world full of unusual moments that he happened to cast his camera over. Graves has managed to provide the reader with a totalizing view of what was happening in the Bay area in a time of turmoil amongst various communities, such as the Beat Generation and the Haight-Ashbury hippies.
The text is kept to a limit with it appearing at the start and end of the book with the photographs playing the major role in the viewer’s experience. The timeline at the beginning appears on the inside of the fold out cover providing the reader with a brief outline of the context of the following images. At the end appears the justification of the work, this pleases me because it allows the reader to see the images without being told about the narrative allowing them to have an objective response and then upon completion they discover the purpose of the book.
‘The Home Front’ demonstrates the beauty of the minimalist approach when it comes to design. The photographs are juxtaposed with one another with the occasional blank page providing a break in the narrative and also working as device in which to compliment the opposite image. The choice of paper is very pleasing to the touch and by having a mounted photograph on the front of the book adds a personal approach and provides the viewer to a more intimate experience of the images. The only aspect which displeases me slightly is the size, it would be more manageable and successful, I feel, if it was in a smaller format.
This publication has shown me the different aspects of how to display images in order to convey an artist’s ideas. I would highly recommend ‘The Home Front’ to fellow young photographers who wish to pursue publishing as an aspect of their practice.
- Shahram Saadat