Melissa Catanese: Dive Dark Dream Slow
Not long ago, photographer and bookseller Melissa Catanese was sorting through the vernacular photography collection of Peter J. Cohen, helping to organize and edit this massive curated archive (a trove of 20,000+ prints) into a series of single-theme catalogues. Along the way, she pursued an alternate reading of the collection, drifting away from simple typology into something more personal, intuitive, and openly poetic. The result — her magical artist book, Dive Dark Dream Slow — is rooted in the mystery and delight of the ‘found’ image and the ‘snapshot’ aesthetic, but pushes beneath the nostalgic surface of these pictures, re-casting them as luminous transmissions of anticipation, fear, and desire. Like an album of pop songs about a girl (or a civilization) hovering on the verge of transformation, the book cycles through overlapping themes and counter-themes—moon/ocean; violence/tenderness; innocence/experience; masks/nakedness—that sparkle with psychic longing and apocalyptic comedy.