Review by Gerhard Clausing •
Composting is a process for recycling stuff no longer useful in its current form to let the mix develop into something more fertile for the future. “Make hay while the sun shines” is an old saying that implies that one should take advantage of moments that are still somewhat tolerable to improve the situation and make provisions before inclement conditions take over. Gathering food for the livestock that ultimately ends up on our dining table or in our dairy products requires a pitchfork, a simple instrument representing American sturdiness, maybe even predictability (remember the 1930 painting “American Gothic” by Grant Wood, which was meant as a vision of reassurance at the beginning of the Great Depression). In this photobook, the pitchfork serves as a metaphor, inherently both productive and dangerous, the key symbol for Chris Anthony’s elaborate project that strongly and urgently advocates transformation and change.
It is a fact that corporations and the ‘upper’ 1% have riches and tax breaks protected by key politicians that the ordinary wage earner who lives paycheck to paycheck and needs to count dollars and cents meticulously (if available) can only dream about. Anthony starts his mission on the front cover of the book with an actual penny, embedded in the brain area of a huge skull, with a bright and shiny Mr. Lincoln. In people’s pockets too, but doesn’t buy you a thing… gave up his life trying to improve conditions for a minority…
The book is made up of lots of content having to do with past and possible future revolutions trying to improve things for minorities, texts that relate to those images, as well as a Los Angeles that is full of contrasts: evidence of the rich and the poor is shown side by side, and a case is made for a more equitable distribution of the proceeds from the capitalistic system. Anthony also provides many imaginary scenarios depicting a variety of people representing those not doing well with pitchforks and semi-military pitchfork-decorated uniforms, possibly suitable also for various staged performances, as well as simulations of dire consequences for politicians and others who do not heed the very obvious warnings.
Anthony’s work shows special skills in the creation of cinematic tableaus, even panoramas, that drive his points home. He does not mince words, nor images, both in his selections from the history of prior revolutionaries, such as Angela Davis and Malcolm X, as well as in his collages and conceptual photographic visions. As he states, “Thanks, We’ll Take It From Here is a photography book about Income & Wealth Inequality and the Revolution that may be inevitable unless the Ultra-Rich and the Plutocracy start behaving with a bit of decency, empathy and compassion. Inspired by past Revolutions, the book is a visual tale of modern day Revolutionaries protesting the banksters of corporate America, the ultra-rich and the politicians who enable them. It is a reflection of the struggle that millions of people are experiencing as the result of staggering income inequality, systemic racism and corporate bail-outs.”
This well-produced large book of 324 pages is as hefty as the message, weighing in at more than 6 US pounds or 2.85 kilograms. There is an overwhelming plethora of cartoons, graffiti, and most of all, large images that show a disgruntled bulk of the population. A more equitable distribution of the comforts of life is the least that they should expect. One would hope that this impressive book will play a role in a salutary awakening.
Gerhard (Gerry) Clausing, Associate Editor of the PhotoBook Journal, is an author and photographer from Southern California.
Chris Anthony – Thanks, We’ll Take It From Here
Photographer: Chris Anthony (born in Stockholm, Sweden; lives in Los Angeles, California)
Publisher: Ripley’s Darkroom (self-published); © 2022
Texts: Chris Anthony, Michael Mechanic, Niki Franco, and others
Hardcover, foil-stamped printer board, with hand-glued 1 ¢ coin; sewn; 324 pages, unpaginated, with more than 220 images; 12.25 x 12.25 inches (31 x 31 cm); printed in China by Global PSD; ISBN 978-0-9887029-2-9
Production Director: Erik Ko
Photobook Designer: Chris Anthony
Articles and photographs published in the PhotoBook Journal may not be reproduced without the permission of the PhotoBook Journal staff and the photographer(s). All images, texts, and designs are under copyright by the authors and publishers.