Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jeff Brouws

A few years ago I compiled a list of the most popular night photography books for the Nocturnes website. One of the books that came up the most often was "Inside the Live Reptile Tent: The Twilight World of the Carnival Midway" by Jeff Brouws.

(photo: Jeff Brouws)

This is one of those books that grows on you over time. When I first read it a few years ago, it didn't really appeal to me because it wasn't exclusively night photography, and it wasn't exclusively abandoned structures. In fact, part of the book's charm is that all the photographs are from actively working traveling carnivals. Some of them are taken at night, and some are taken on gloomy, overcast days when the carnivals are either setting up, tearing down, or maybe there's just nobody there. Many were taken during twilight.

Jeff Brouws has spent over 15 years photographing what cultural anthropologists refer to as T.O.A.D.S. (Temporary, Obsolete ,Abandoned, Derelict Sites). His compositions are perfect. The photographs are not only stunning to anyone interested in daytime, dusk or night photography, but these photographs also provide great anthropological insight into this uniquely American phenomemon of traveling carnivals. The book also includes a great textual description of the history of American carnivals.

Not only has this book become one of my favorites over the past month, but you can buy great copies used for less than $5.

Thanks to Lane Hartwell for getting me interested in this book.


Blogger Joe Reifer said...

Inside the Live Reptile Tent was one of the reasons I got interested in night photography. Great book, and quite a bargain, too.

10:59 AM  

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