Deanna and Ed Templeton – Contemporary Suburbium, 2017
Photographers: Deanna Templeton (born and resides Huntington Beach, CA, USA) & Ed Templeton (born Garden Grove, CA & resides Huntington Beach, CA, USA)
Publisher: Nazraeli Press
Introduction essays; Deanna Templeton and Ed Templeton
Hardcover book, tipped in image, leporello design, clear slip-cover with hot stamp lettering, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in China
Photobook designer: Ed Templeton
Notes: This is a collective body of work by the husband and wife team of Deanna and Ed Templeton that investigates their upper middleclass Southern California neighborhood. Their Huntington Beach (HB) neighborhood is also not far from my residence/studio in Orange County and appears somewhat similar, except for their heavy “beach” influence, as their community directly borders the Pacific Ocean. They provide quick glimpses of their adjacent beach and flying pelicans as to establish their proximity and to anchor the environmental context.
Implied in the book’s leporello (accordion) book design is that each of the Templeton’s provide their photographs on one side of the printed page. Reading from one cover and direction you follow the street photography of the male gaze, while corresponding reading from the opposite cover and direction you can observe the street photography of the female gaze. Perhaps one has documented some cars juxtaposed in this SoCal location while the other appears to be more interested in the human element. It might be hard to look at an individual photograph to determine its authorship, but also understand that as a couple they have been doing street photograph of similar subjects together for almost twenty years. That they begin to see and photograph like things can be understood.
This is a mellow body of work as compared to their earlier rough and tumble street photographs, and more akin to Mark Steinmetz book that is based in suburbs of Southern California. A slice of life without the drama.
Likewise, the book’s layout by Ed Templeton reminds me of Carolyn Drake’s Two Rivers, in which the photographic images slide over the edges to the following page panel. It seems apparent to me that Templeton is gently coaxing the reader to really open and expand the leporello pages to create a long panorama and read the almost endless narrative. An invitation to take a walk along with him and his wife, perhaps peak in their back yards, join in a children’s plays, and watch the grass grow because this is where they hang out together.