Also of note is the technical essay at the end of the book where he goes into great detail about his photographic methods. As a non-photographer I’ve always been awed by what it takes to shoot professionally, even more so by people who continue with the old methods that have always seemed so completely daunting to me – one reason I gave up early on serious picture taking.
David Plowden’s photos in A Handful of Dust: Disappearing America are marvelously evocative as always. His introductory text moves them to a dimension beyond ruin porn. Usually when you see pictures of rural decay you respond to that evocativeness and to the formal beauty of the scenes. Plowdwn connects you to the stories behind these mostly Midwestern images in the same way that he’s connected, by talking about what these places (and the people who once populated them) were like when he first photographed them years ago. There really is a narrative behind almost every ruined farmhouse or boarded-up store.