Charcoal Press, 2020
144 pages, black and white photographs
“You’re always hyper-aware that beyond every frame of every photo, the heartbreaking locusts of progress and desecration are out there somewhere, massing inexorably in the darkness beyond the cardboard fortresses and the fields.”
The title is a subtext, with which Jesse Lenz wants to put the reader in an almost biblical, mythological mood. He wants to make the reader hear the buzzing of locusts as a background to the scrolling of the pages.
According to the book of Exodus, locusts were one of God’s ten plagues on Egypt; in biblical tradition, however, these insects are also the food of the prophets, the nourishment of the saints during their periods of pilgrimage or exile. Thus, the locust is a symbol of wilderness, loss, anxiety and hope, blessing and sin.
When you struggle to find hope and beauty where it’s not so obvious that it’s there, you embark on the same journey that mankind has been on since the beginning of consciousness. The journey of finding grace in the wreckage of life.
When photographer and editor Jesse Lenz first settled in a rural Ohio farmhouse with his family, he was forced to rethink his long-standing beliefs about the photographic process, practice, and art. After several years constantly traveling across North America, he discovered a different kind of movement and change.
As his children’s imaginations ran wild in the fields, searching for and finding new worlds alongside plants, insects, and animals, Lenz’s eyes, under the ever-watchful guidance of the children, opened to a whole new way of seeing the world around him.
Staying in one place doesn’t necessarily require us to be static – something many of us have been forced to reconcile with this year – and perhaps it can reveal to us what we’ve long forgotten.
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