Michael Carlebach’s photographs (previously) show us Americans we see but don’t much notice. Through his photographs we can travel around the US.
These are not aliens, but you might find them foreigners in your America, a bit unusual, people to be studied in a landscape different from your town, your State and your place of birth. You can use your imagination to wonder who they are. There’s no guarantee you’ll like them. We can smile at Elvis Presley impersonators, get the irony of the one-toothed ‘Lion’ of New York, and wonder who bought their clothes at the The Great American Redneck Shop (closed: 2012) in Laurens, South Carolina, which sold Klu Klux Klan robes, hosted a Klan Museum and thought Nazi flags made ideal home decor?
But through these people, we get to know something of ourselves. No need to travel to far-flung destinations in search of the exotic and a renewed sense of yourself. Just walk the streets in your area and take a moment to look.
The Great American Redneck Shop, Laurens, South Carolina
“The clamor of the unknown for their promised fifteen minutes of fame and the already famous for an extra fifteen or thirty or sixty minutes, assures photographers of a steady supply of eager and possibly even comely subjects. A long time ago, I decided to steer clear of those supercharged personae whose bluster and self-promotion guarantees plenty of attention but delivers little of substance, just noise and more noise. I look for meaning at the edges of things, avoiding the incendiary characters who bully their way into our lives whether we like it or not. The ability of so many photographers to describe in infinite detail the great events and people that occupy the media, sometimes makes it difficult to see and appreciate what is subtle, funny or poignant right in front of us. That’s my job.”
– Michael Carlebach
Burnsville, North Carolina
7th Avenue, New York City
Buncombe County, North Carolina
For anyone interested in photojournalism, Michael’s book The Origins of Photojournalism in America is a great resource.
See more of Michael’s work on his website.