Vernacular Photography and Narrative: Fang’s indexes (part 1)


FIFTY FOTOS FOUND BY FANG WITH TEXT BY THE HOUND and help me both contend for the richest index of any photobook. Poet Gillian McCain collaborated with James Marshall and Megan Cump on two books created with images from McCain’s vast collection of found photography. We get a hint of McCain’s process and interests through the alphabetical indexes, which point to a single, or in some cases, several images with that particular subject. McCain’s collection is not only deeply personal in its curation but McCain’s unique classifications both add a structure to the collection and often engage you with the materials in a different way. Thinking of their practice as a poet, their classifications often feel more like short (often a single word) poems paired with the photography.


Some text includes:

  • Anticipatory nostalgia, 32
  • Arthur, Bea, 76
  • Bootie bump panties, 71
  • cops, 87, 90
  • Dexedrine, 81
  • ectoplasm, 54
  • fang marks, 92
  • gang, 34, 48, 81
    • gang sign, 44
    • gang signal, 73
  • hair, 12, 13, 27, 39, 44, 51, 68, 79, 81, 83
  • Ive’s, Burl, 70
  • Josef Stalin Fan Club, 22
  • Korea, 87
  • Lomax, Alan, 38
  • mods, 81
  • Norton Records 29, 35
    • see Bill Miller
    • see Dangerous Games
    • see Mary Weiss
  • Oriental Tea Room, 56
  • phantom limb, 47
  • Quaaludes, 67
  • Rosemary’s Baby, 40
  • Slipnot [sic], 5
  • teen torture, 43
  • unsold pilots, 98
  • Velvet Underground, The, 29
  • Wisconsin Death Trip, 84
  • young, comatose girl, 21
  • Zorba the Greek, 68

In Fifty Fotos… additional text is provided by James Marshall (the hound)  where they originally were posted on The HoundBlog and also features selections from the blog’s comment section. help me features photos exhibited at the camera club of New York, and was curated by Gillian and Megan Cump, careful diptychs are created in the design of the book and relationships and strange parallels emerge between images taken in completely distinct spaces and times.

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Gillian McCain will be speaking for a panel organized by a special ICP librarian to be held this September 22nd for the Contemporary Art Book Conference at the New York Art Book Fair. Please join us at 4:00 at Book Culture, LIC to hear McCain and others speak about their collections of vernacular photographs. More information can be seen here

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