THIS WAY FOR FUN! by James Brook
A5, 88 pages, Full colour printed, Perfect bound, Tape spine, Card cover, Ed. of 50, 2020
The American road trip has an important place within the history of photography as David Campany outlines in his book ‘The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip’ (Aperture, New York. 2014). The many journeys of photographers travelling America and experiencing life on the road has resulted in iconic bodies of work that have contributed to our visual awareness of ‘American Surfaces’ (as Stephen Shore’s book title clearly articulates). In the series ‘This Way For Fun!’ we are presented with a different perspective and unusual view of some familiar American scenes. Brook’s online American road trip through open access CCTV cameras offers a different insight.
Whilst the images themselves are intriguing, this series also manages to capture something outside of the frame. ‘This Way For Fun!’ is able to represent the state of mind of a nation. The security conscious individuals who set up cameras to keep watch over banal scenes manage to communicate their fear, paranoia and insecurities to the viewer. This series also outlines the many opportunities for voyeurism with new technology. Photography has often been described as a ‘window on the world’, maybe ‘cameras of the world’ would be appropriate to describe the sheer scale of cameras available that Brook was able to utilise, unbeknown to the individuals who installed them.
Please pay attention as you travel through these pages. These seemingly quiet and distant images of an America devoid of people, captured using surveillance technology, may appear banal on the surface but they reveal far more than there is to see here. Enjoy the ride!