FIRST PHOTOBOOK SHORTLIST: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, Why?

Dan Boardman et Aspen Mays
Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, Why?

Houseboat Press and Conveyor Editions, Jersey City, NJ, 2016
Designed by Elana Schlenker
houseboatpress.com • conveyoreditions.com

Dan Boardman and Aspen Mays’s Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, Why? uses two seemingly unrelated image archives to explore the effects of bearing witness. When closed, the book looks like two separate volumes, spiral-bound together back-to-back. The binding allows the books to unfold from front or from back and for the pages to be interleaved together; the images from the two stories combine to create a third narrative. One book tells the story of the failed Challenger STS-51-L mission through official NASA documentation and publicly available imagery, while the other uses a mix of snapshots from a family road trip. Christoph Wiesner comments, “So many archives exist, whether physically or digitally, and it’s really interesting to see what connection and new stories these archives make when put together.” In this book’s overlay of different kinds of imagery, Wiesner continues, “cultural evidence and what one remembers are brought together—the personal and public converge.”

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