Motivated by our visit to Unseen last weekend, we are ready to share a new truly extraordinary photography book (not seen at Unseen) which will be released officially at the end of next October. Inspired by the late-great cartoonist William Steig and his classic children’s book; ‘The Lonely Ones’ – consisting of ligne claire drawings with smart captions by the author – photographer Gus Powell created his own ‘The Lonely Ones’ published by J&L Books: a series of remarkably beautiful color photographs of interiors and landscapes, inhabited by people, animals and inanimate characters. Every photograph is paired with a suggestive text by Powell – each of the 40 color photographs in the book hidden by a gate fold, on which is printed the single phrase. Every photograph is revealed individually behind its gate fold, resulting in one of the most elegant and living photography books which will be released in this year.
I had this memory of my poetry teacher from college who taught me: pick an existing form that has very tight rules, because it’s going to limit the decisions you can make […] you just have to make these words rhyme. So my initial outline was to create a cover album for the work of William Steig, which evolved into a book with my personal captions next to a blend of my streetstyle and more staged photography.
Photographer Gus Powell was born in New York City in 1974 and attended Oberlin College where he majored in comparative religion. He is best known for his street photography and a body of work that was inspired by Frank O’Hara’s book Lunch Poems. The complete series was published as a monograph, titled The ‘Company of Strangers’, also published by J&L Books, and was exhibited as a solo show, titled ‘Manhattan Noon’, at the Museum of the City of New York. His editorial work has appeared in publications like Vogue, BIG, Wired, Fortune, W and he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine. His commercial clients include Adidas, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Carhartt and the Gagosian Gallery.
Photography is so immediate, you can put the four corners around almost anything and it can just turn out as another ‘noun’. But, for me, what is exciting is when you take these pictures which are ‘verbs’ – having something alive in them.
For his new book Powell teamed up with the very talented Steven Brahms to create a French new wave inspired trailer, which was released last April to secure the final funding for the new book, and still sets the mood perfectly before the official release on the 27th of October.
Gus Powell is represented by Goldteeth & Co.
Pre-order ‘The Lonely Ones’ online here.