Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laura Noel's Withdrawn

Atlanta-based photographer Laura Noel has just published a really nifty book, Withdrawn, from England's aglu press and you can have a copy for £5.00 if you go to aglu's website. 

And you really ought to have a copy, because Noel is doing fine work with her camera and fine work folding her images into a book.

I have been an admirer of Noel's work for years, ever since I saw one of her Smoke Break portfolio images at a show here in Raleigh at NC State's Gregg Museum

Among Southern photographers, she is especially good at Southern urban culture since the 1950's. 

I admire especially her wit and inventiveness, but also her deep insight into ways you can use a camera to communicate through choice and framing.

Here, she turns this exceptional perceptiveness with her camera on images of books that have been discarded, indeed bearing the "discarded" stamp. You can read more here about the concept.  

But its the angle of view and the choice of what to include and exclude that makes these images compelling. Each of Noel's images is a small drama of rejection or dismissal. 

Somehow the diminutive scale of this book of images works perfectly with the subject. 

But there is even more here than a series of rejections. This set of images is about time and transitions, about the culture of reading and literacy in the South, and the circulation of books and ideas. 

That's a lot for a small book to be about, but this small book carries off the responsibility with grace and ease. 


  1. Great stuff John! Thanks so much for posting it and bringing it to our attention. I must confess I was not familiar with Laura Noel's work.

  2. Christian, check out her "Smoke Break" portfolio.