Events

Poscards from us x: Online Art Workshops

29 January - 12 February 2021

Events

WHAT WE DO IN LOCKDOWN

5 January 2021

HYPERTEXT: Books Beyond Bars – Felix McNulty in conversation with Sarah Jane Baker

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Ruth White – The Role of the Photobook in Representing the British Working Classes

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Yasmine Akim ‘Decolonise art schools & showcase the agency of marginalised people’

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Jason Evans – Sound & Vision

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: ROOT-ed Zine – Our Experience of Navigating through Arts and Media as People of Colour

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Present and Continuous Q&A with Liz Wewiora and the Many Hands Craft Collective

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Rose Nordin of OOMK in conversation with Kerol Izwan of Musotrees

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Jade Montserrat in conversation with Nikita Gill

28 November 2020

HYPERTEXT: Sam Hutchinson in conversation with Aram Sabbah of Skatepal

28 November 2020

Get Involved: The Story of Liverpool Through Its Trees

24 November 2020

Past Events

Home Turf: Fans, Foodbanks and Photography

17 December 2020

Past Events

Scottie Press: Digital Residency

7 December - 11 December 2020

Past Events

Tell It Like It Is: Ian Clegg and Laura Robertson in Conversation

20 November 2020

Exhibitions

VR: L— A City Through Its People

5 November - 7 March 2020

Exhibitions

Peer to Peer HK/UK — Lee Wing Ki: Night Walk (an excerpt)

16 November - 30 November 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Peer to Peer: UK / HK

11 November 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

Watch: Liverpool Slavery Virtual Tour

27 October 2020

A Message From Open Eye Gallery: Covid-19 Update

2 November 2020

Exhibitions

VR — The New West

30 October 2020

Past Exhibitions

TO BE FRANK

30 October - 15 November 2020

Past Exhibitions

THE LIVES WE LEAD

28 October - 11 November 2020

Past Events Past Exhibitions

Love Is An Action: Black History Panel

29 October 2020

Projects

VR — The Time We Call Our Own

3 September 2020

Exhibitions Main Exhibition

Exhibition: L— A City Through Its People

5 November - 7 March 2021

Projects

Harold Offeh — When Was The Time I Could Call My Own?

15 October 2020

Projects

Mirjam Wirz — Sonidero City

8 October 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #9 Access to Art: Who is art for? (w/ Mike Pinnington and Larry Achiampong)

13 October 2020

Projects

PLATFORM ISSUE 2: THE NEW NORMAL

7 October 2020

Past Events

Atrium Exhibition: Illustrating Anthropology

12 November - 30 November 2020

Past Events

Laurence Westgaph: Liverpool Slavery Virtual Tour

27 October 2020

Exhibitions Open Source Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #18 – KELEENNA ONYEAKA

1 October - 31 October 2020

Projects

Tobias Zielony — Maskirovka

27 August 2020

Projects

Save Some Space (The Time We Call Our Own Online #4)

20 August 2020

Projects

Andrew Miksys — Disko (The Time We Call Our Own: Online #3)

6 August 2020

Projects

Oliver Sieber: Imaginary Club (The Time We Call Our Own: Online #2)

30 July 2020

Projects

Getting Ready: Amelia Lonsdale and Her Mum (#1)

23 July 2020

Exhibitions Past Exhibitions Open Source Exhibitions

DIGITAL WINDOW GALLERY: OPEN SOURCE #17 – SAMANTHA JAGGER

3 September - 30 September 2020

Past Exhibitions

you out tonight?

10 August 2020

Projects

folio20: Hugh Baird University Centre

10 August 2020

Projects

Sarah Eyre (Untitled)

10 August 2020

Projects

Activity Packs for Older People

20 July 2020

Projects

Young People + Family Activity Packs

20 July 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #3: Photographing the Internet (w/ Mishka Henner)

7 May 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #2: Separated Together

30 April 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #7: Photography Does Not Love You (Katrina Sluis w/ Jacob Bolton)

2 July 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #8: Photography and Racialisation

9 July 2020

Projects

Open Rooms #5: Class of 2020 — Seba Kurtis in conversation with Mariama Attah

18 June 2020

Projects

Love is an Action

11 June 2020

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David J. Carol: The Woods Connecticut 2014
David J. Carol: Gorilla Long Island, New York 2015
David J. Carol: Joe with Fish Baffin Island 1997
David J. Carol: Subway Girl New York City 2013
David J. Carol: Topless Dancers Florida 2002

Review – No Plan B: Photographs from 1993-2016

No Plan B: Photographs from 1993-2016
by David J. Carol
published by Peanut Press, 2016

Review by Stephen Clarke

In the last line of his introduction to Robert Frank’s photobook The Americans, Jack Kerouac focuses on the picture of a ‘lonely elevator girl’.  Caught by the photographer as the elevator doors momentarily stand open, the elevator girl gazes forlornly out: she is moving in one direction as Frank travels in another. Frank’s book of black and white photographs, chronicled his travels across 1950s America. Kerouac’s On the Road, an exhaustive flow of stream of  consciousness prose that came to encapsulate the American road trip, had been published two years earlier in 1957. Swiss by birth, Frank’s pictures reveal his understanding of his adopted country and have served as a landmark for the work of later photographic travellers. David Carol’s publication No Plan B (2016) follows Frank’s lead, continuing the pursuit of what it means to be an American.

 

David Carol was born in New York in 1958. He attended the city’s School of Visual Arts, and the New School for Social Research. At the latter, he was taught by the Austrian-born Lisette Model, another European émigré like Frank.  Observation of the peculiarities in the world around him may have been nurtured by contact with Model. Both Frank and Model photographed an America that was alien to them; consequently, they introduced Americans to the strangeness of their own country. Composed of fifty states, the USA is diverse and spread wide; most of its population will know only a small part of the whole. In the preface to No Plan B, Carol relates that as a child he had not travelled far. At the age of 20 he was inspired, by the example of Jack Kerouac, to undertake a road trip. The trip fuelled his ambition to travel and to become a photographer. Although a New Yorker, his images are not confined to this city. For Carol, photographs and exploration are bound together as he visits places within his nation’s borders and beyond.

 

Carol’s pictures are not programmatic: ruled by disciplined whimsy, his pictures are noticeably humorous. It is the playfulness in Carol’s work that attracted the attention of Craig Atkinson at Café Royal Books (CRB), a UK-based publisher of photozines. In 2013, Atkinson had published work by the New York photographer Joni Sternbach that Carol had seen and admired. By October of 2013, Carol had produced his first book with CRB, Where’s the Monkey? The photobook’s cover shows a number of out houses strewn across a New Mexico desert landscape: an unwitting nod to Britain’s Dr Who perhaps, the American photographer took his British audience on a tour through his observations. Two further titles by the independent publisher were released in 2014: Here’s the Deal and All My Pictures Look the Same! These became a part of Carol’s growing archive of pictures that record everyday occurrence. Atkinson recognizes that in Carol there is a sensibility akin to British photographers. His small, witty statements come together as coherent analysis in the same manner as projects by Homer Sykes and Patrick Ward, two other names who have made books with Atkinson at Café Royal.

 

No Plan B has been published by Peanut Press, Carol’s own imprint co-founded with Ashly Stohl in 2015. It’s augural publication, Charth Vader, is Stohl’s gently humorous picturing of her youngest son Charlie. Since the publishing of Stohl’s book, the partners of Peanut Press have worked with Rammy Narula (Platform 10, 2015) and Richard Bram (New York, 2016). Carol’s No Plan B is its latest publication, a compilation of 32 black and white photographs, printed in an edition of 1000. Opening with a brief text by Carol, and closing with an equally concise afterword by Jason Eskenazi, the book is an eclectic collection of images made over twenty-five years. Its title refers to Carol’s whole-hearted commitment to the medium: there was no turning back once he had made the decision to become a photographer.

 

At the start of his visual journey, the picture Turnaround (2012) challenges the viewer to go no further; the road sign of Long Island, New York demands, in capital letters, that both the photographer and his audience go back. Carol’s attitude can be truculent, something we expect of a confident New Yorker, and so his travels were not going to be that easily curtailed. Leaving his native shores, Carol washes up on a beach in Turkey where he is confronted by a slow moving turtle; on the sands of Acapulco three dogs lazily stray into his view. The Movie Theater Lady taken in Moscow in 1993, shares a strong visual correspondence with the man in the New York Newsstand taken over twenty years later. The poetry of Bubble in Paris, France and the mystery of Boat in Mystic, Connecticut reveal a more sensitive view. These are photographs made to please himself, as he notes his surroundings; they are not made to please others. A closing picture titled Who Cares reinforces this attitude. Written on the back of what appears to be inflatable headgear atop the shoulders of a man crossing a street in New York, the remark is both a defence against critics and acknowledgement that these images may only matter to those who do care.

 

As the Director of Photography at a large organization dealing with outdoor signage, Carol was aware of the constraints of commercial photography. In contrast, Carol’s twenty-five year road trip has allowed more freedom. Like many others, he has followed the travelogue laid out by Frank and Kerouac, but on this road found his own American identity. Conscious of the vastness of the United States, Americans are encouraged to take an individualist journey. On his odyssey, this traveller experienced the world as quick glances and chance meetings. The hand-held camera is ideally suited to record these moments. The subject passes out of the frame at speed before the photographer can determine the significance of what has been seen. In 2013, the glimpse of a girl on the subway in New York City becomes the focus of Carol’s lens. Caught between stations, the photographer and Subway Girl have a predestined rendezvous.

No Plan B: Photographs from 1993-2016 by David J. Carol.
Hard cover, 32 black & white photographs.
Published by Peanut Press.

No Plan B is available to purchase directly from the website www.peanutpressbooks.com

For more information on David J. Carol visit his website www.davidcarol.com

 

Stephen Clarke is an artist, writer and lecturer based in the North West.
His photobook St Helens is published by Café Royal Books.

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