Book Review: Reds

Book Review: Reds

Front and back covers of the book.

Front and back covers of the book.

Review by Federica Belli.

You’ve probably been advised not to judge a book by its cover. You’re probably recalling the first time you heard of this from your teacher. Well, the latest collection of photographs by Aaron McElroy, Reds, is a wonderful exception to the rule: the strikingly vivid opening picture is the perfect front door leading to a world you definitely want to step in. Just take off your shoes and enjoy the immersive walk.

While the photographer aims to recall the American vibe through the title. A clear reference to the brand of cigarettes we all have tried at least once. And he wonderfully does so.

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At the same time, the book unfolds in a collection of stunningly framed everyday gestures which end up being familiar to everyone. The reader is seamlessly brought to a world imbued with passion, raw emotions and universal symbols of what it means to be alive while trying to fit in the customs of our time. The role of red throughout the book goes way beyond that of a leitmotif, becoming a sort of discipline which the photographer commits in order to find a rationale in a world that often turns out to be built on chance.

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The work comes to life through the rough texture of the pictures. The exquisite use of flash adds a gust of vitality to the narrative while conveying a sense of materiality which would otherwise have been difficult to achieve.

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As the narrative willingly flows in a non-linear way, it leads each viewer to unconsciously reflect on his past experiences in order to build a plot which turns out to be unique and specific to the individual. The feeling of ambiguity follows the viewer through the whole experience. The result is as likely to be considered an extremely lighthearted documentary work as a heartfelt love letter to the feeling of being alive.

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To see more of Aaron’s work click here.

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