Photography Reviews

Summer Camp – Mark Steinmetz

American photographer, Mark Steinmetz, is known for his timeless photographs of “ordinary people in the ordinary landscapes they inhabit.” As Jorg Colberg says in one of his articles,

“If anything, what we really should be talking about when we use the word “timeless” is a photographer’s sensibility, a sensibility that in some form is translated into the pictures: what do the photographs make us feel (instead of: what do we see)? Are those feelings tied to specific eras, or do they connect to something that falls outside of the continuum of time? And what would that falling out of time mean?”

For the recent listed best photobook of the year 2019 by Chose Commune at BJP  ‘Summer Camp’, it is a book about youths during trips away at summer camp. Whether it is in the 60s or in the 90s, the feeling of leaving home and entering a space with other kids just before their teenage years can easily resonate with many of the viewers – the “timelessness” of this book. The photographer brilliantly captured the moments of the excitement, the pain, the friendships, the late games etc, just as they are, with a touch of tenderness and softnesses.  It marks the transition period from kids to adolescence, where as Steinmetz described, “when a little kid laughs or cries, it doesn’t have real resonance, whereas if someone has these emotions between eight and 12, there’s a poignancy to it. When they become adults, it’s just not the same. Many of these photos are about the predicament of being a kid put into a certain situation. In one picture, these girls who have been so horrible to each other all summer are now parting – and the depth of their love just gushes out. It’s almost excruciating…”

Summercamp-2© Mark Steinmetz, from the series ‘Summer Camp’ ; Source @ Mark Steinmetz

© Mark Steinmetz, from the series ‘Summer Camp’ ; Source @ Mark Steinmetz

Note: Also check out his most recent work ‘Terminus’, another brilliant series.

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