Melissa Shook – My Suffolk Downs

Photographs copyright Melissa Shook 2012 published by Kat Ran Press and Pressed Wafer Press

Melissa Shook is investigating the back story of the stables and the workings of a horse-race track, Suffolk Downs, located in Massachusetts. She has been photographing at this small track for an extensive period when her access to the track’s operations improved as a result of her friend’s “claiming” investment of a race horse. Shook has attempted to capture the swirling activities that constitute the unique life and work of this micro-environment.

This project is a collection of singular images that were created in a documentary style and attempts to define a specific place as well as those who work there. It does not attempt to be all-inclusive investigation, using a combination of poetic black and white images couple with her poetic words to create something might be greater than the two.

As to the layering of the poetic writing that is interlaced through and around the interior photographs, I will rightful leave that to others to critique. Nevertheless, the writing has an interesting cadence as she attempts to capture the dialect of her subjects.

As a book object, it is a stiff cover, lithography printed and sewn, horizontally designed book that reads very well, as the book lays open nicely in your hands. The horizontal book design is nicely matched to the horizontal black and white photographs, each with an ample amount of a white margin.

by Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

Note: in posting this review, I notice that there is a small area of warmth in the interiors images which is probably a result of my not turning off one of the room lights when making these images, so apologies to all, as these are very nice entirely Black and White photographs.

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