Tim Carpenter Local Objects


Local Objects (published by The Ice Plant), the newest book by American photographer and publisher Tim Carpenter, is a celebration of the banal. Filled with greyish tones and casually confident framing, the black and white landscape photographs are immediately reminiscent of late German photographer Michael Schmidt.

The setting for these photographs is America’s Midwest, where towns roll out into the fields or the fields roll into towns. There is a sense that Carpenter enjoys to wander, to walk and to see. The pictures in Local Objects – the best ones – seem to be as much about photography and seeing as they are about the formal elements that underpin them. For this reason, it hardly matters that this is Carpenter’s home town, for these rhythmic, elegiac photographs have their own beating hearts.

The book is refreshingly small in scale and while the traditional one-picture-per-page sequencing suits this sort of picture making, the double-page spreads of similar scenes with alternate vantage points are a personal favourite, not only breaking up the rhythm of the sequence but introducing a more contemplative tone. However, this book wouldn’t be successful if it weren’t for the expertly printed photographs which shimmer and sway on the pale, yellowish paper stock. Recommended reading.

This book review was published by The Heavy Collective in October 2017.