Today is Hamburger Eyes 18th bday! Thanks for sticking with us, I know it has been a long and winding road. Here are photos from our upcoming book, SF EYES published by Hat and Beard Press. Celebrate with us on Feb 27th!
** Just to clear up any confusion: This is the 200th title of books and zines that we have published since we started counting as Hamburger Eyes “The Publisher”. As for Hamburger Eyes “The Photozine”, this issue would be number 37. (Some people have posted it as our 200th issue on social media, but it’s misleading and confusing I know. Sorry. Click here to see the whole CATALOG.)
I don’t know what post-industrial decline means. It is a vague notion in my head. Boarded-up homes, the husk of dead factories with broken windows and overgrown grass, businesses gone to seed. And the people? The people are missing in this picture of decay in my mind. When I first came to Poughkeepsie fifteen years ago, I was told by an academic that while there were pockets of prosperity in Hudson Valley, this town had suffered from post-industrial decline. I’m not a sociologist and I cannot say with certainty if such a statement is even true. But what draws me to Caleb Stein’s images is that he provides us the people missing from my mental picture. And what’s surprising about these images, no, what’s honest about them is that instead of people, we get faces. Individual lives. Their wealth of stories and secrets are shielded from us—mysteries that we cannot part—but we wonder and ask questions because that is what I think the photographer himself is doing. Hello? How are you? How is your day going? I imagine him asking this over and over again with the same people who then begin to treat him as a neighbor that he undoubtedly is. The photographer as everyman. On the street, in parks, and at the watering hole where we see that his eye is as clear as the water. Consider the remarkable image of the Prom Boy, a picture taken on the street on which I live. This image does fill me with wonder. Such a fine, even tender, mix of contradictions: the large flower in the buttonhole, the bandage on the nose, the slightly askew bowtie, the bruised eye, the stubbornly dignified gaze… I could go on. I don’t know whether I’m right or wrong in saying any of this about the young man. All I can be certain about is that this is what living is about, this tussle with the real, this strange encounter across divisions of race and class, in a rectangular visual space. This is life.
Thank you to everyone on this journey with us. We only exist because of all the submissions we get. We only exist because people buy our zines and hoodies. We have come a long way and look forward to the long road ahead. Thanks again and again.