NEW YORK, NY.-
Grief, like memories, attaches itself to random moments and fragments of thought. It's nonlinear and omnipresent at the same time, deserving of honor, but also requiring relief from the carrying of its weight. Photographer Jason Paul Reimer's sister died within months of his daughter's birth. The resulting coexistence of grief and joy is explored in this moving collection of color photographs which he has described as "...a metaphorical visualization of my struggle to reconcile the heartache of my sisters loss, [and] the awe and wonder of meeting my daughter
The sequencing and design of the book reflects how the mind and heart interact glimpses and fleeting wonders, images that hold context and reinforce each other in double page spreads and stand-alone photographs presented in a journal-type spiral notebook. The book's content is personal, and this feeling is reinforced with the occasional scrapbook presentation of images in photo corners. The viewer feels as though they are peering at a corner of someone's narrative, and indeed they are.
Life and death, though, are also universal experiences to humanity. And while Reimer's photographs are unique to his home and emotional landscape, distinct to the story of his life, his sister, his child, it is the vulnerability he displays that serves as a kind of invitation for the viewer to overlay their own narrative of hopes, dreams, and losses.
Curator Douglas McCulloh contributed text for the book, and he reinforced this idea of imagery as a kind of bridge between viewer and artist. He writes, "Contemporary photographs are less a means of documentation than a medium of exchange."
McCulloh also provides moving commentary and insight on the presence of Reimer's sister throughout the pages of the book. "Amanda was born on November 9, 1967, and died of cancer on July 8, 2014. She saw the photographs and watched the project evolve but did not have a chance to hold the book. Photographs depicting Amanda slowly drifted out of the project, but she is between every line, just off the edge of every frame."
His writing also includes several quotes from artists, and he comments on one from photographer Susan Sontag. Both McCulloh and Sontag's observations highlight the function of photography as a medium that in many ways, at its essence, is about and within the concept of mortality, exploring the interplay with light and dark and freezing time.
McCulloh notes, "The duality of light and shadow is like that of life and death. We are fleeting moments in a floating world. Photographs are in league with death. Cameras save the moment, but not the person. Stare into a camera and you look into mortality. Sontag explains, Photographs state the innocence, the vulnerability of lives heading toward their own destruction, and this link between photography and death haunts all photographs of people.
Jason Paul Reimer is an internationally exhibited artist and educator based in southern California. His work has been exhibited at Photobook Independent, 1975, the William Harris Gallery, and Gallery r in Rochester, New York; at the 2014 Pingyao International Photography Festival in Pingyao, China; at the Creative Center for Photography in Hollywood, California; at the Oceanside Museum of Art; at the 2011 Art of Photography Show; and at Luxe Gallery in San Diego, California.
Douglas McCulloh is a photographer, writer, and curator based in Southern California. His work has been shown internationally in more than 250 exhibitions. McCullohs fifth book is The Great Picture: Making the Worlds Largest Photograph, part of the Legacy Project Collaborative and published by Hudson Hills Press, New York. McCulloh is a five-time recipient of support from the California Council for the Humanities and serves as senior curator for UCR ARTS: California Museum of Photography.
is a non-profit organization dedicated to publishing art and photography books. By exploring the documentary mode along with the more conceptual concerns of fine art, Daylight's uniquely collectible publications work to revitalize the relationship between art, photography, and the world-at-large.