Stanley Barker, 2021
Hardback, 30×25 cm
164 pages, black and white photographs
Richard Rothman’s Town of C is a photographic meditation on what lies beneath the unsettling surface of American culture, as seen through the lens of a small town along the Front Range of Southern Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
Rooted in the tradition of the socially critical photography books that have taken America as their subject — Walker Evans’ American Photographs, Robert Frank’s The Americans, and Robert Adams’ What We Bought, among them — Town of C both encompasses and expands on the American theme, provoking thoughts about the larger environment.
The increasingly dystopian American experience is placed within the larger context of our disturbed presence in the world. The book, a novel-like, sustained visual narrative, attempts to penetrate and reveal the heart of a small town and, by extension, the culture it has sprung from and the lives of the people who have shaped that culture, and who are in turn shaped by it.
Varied, wide-ranging portraits span generations and classes, from infants to the elderly, from the homeless to the wealthy. They bear witness to the struggle to survive and ascend, and attest to an eternal hunger for unrequited longings that fuel human interaction in unpredictable ways. The tragic nature of the human condition explored in the portraits, nudes, and altered landscape of C is set against the rapturous beauty of a vanishing natural world still capable of generating awe, wonder, and a reverence for life.