Book Review: Nothing's Coming Soon
Nothing’s Coming Soon is Clay Maxwell Jordan’s first photography monograph that portrays American life in the South, balancing images of people and isolated objects. Looking at this delicate pale pink book cover with its fairytale font title you wouldn’t expect the images that lay inside.
The photographer was inspired by a Buddhist concept that ‘life is suffering’, which may sound cynical and bleak but is actually a concept for understanding and healing suffering. If things in life are imperfect, ever-changing and aging, we should learn to love and accept them as such. Like that desolated house he photographed that we can imagine was left behind for a more beautiful, bigger one. Or that perplexing skeleton hanging on a thread in the middle of a backyard that confronts us with our own mortality. Or the shot of a middle aged woman caught mid-sentence which reminds us that we are not static like a photograph, stuck in a moment, but constantly in-between the past and the future.
The themes in this book reveal something of his thoughts on mortality and perhaps the beauty associated to them. Nothing’s Coming Soon pushes us to reflect on the small things, the rotting things, the unnoticed. In juxtaposition, he sets up portraits of people, as if he were asking us to contemplate our own mortality by looking at these lapsed objects and landscapes along with portraits of life. It is a visual commentary on our social world, so stubborn to think that what is new is more beautiful. It is a reflection on lifestyle, and the things we decide to leave behind.
Flipping through the pages, it is tempting to create different possible narratives, wonder about the people, and imagine the past lives of things lost. Looking at these photographs, I was compelled to feel something about our condition as human beings. It makes us consider how blind we are to our own suffering because we are always looking towards the future or remembering the past, never in the present. This book lets us experience aging and explore themes we wouldn’t normally stop to consider.
This publication is available for purchase on Clay’s website.