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Zine Review: David McCarty's Electric City


David McCarty is an artist & lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi. Born in Alabama, he uses only Polaroid cameras and instant film. His Polaroid work has been featured at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in the exhibition Self-Processing—Instant Photography, in New Orleans; in the Photo NOLA event The Perpetual Instant, juried by Time Zero documentarian Grant Hamilton, in New Orleans; and at Light + GlassGallery in Jackson, Mississippi. His Polaroid diptych “Biloxi Hotel” is in the permanent collection of the Ogden Museum.

Inspired by the rise of high quality photo books, artist and curator Tammy Mercure worked with the BlueLibrary in New Orleans to publish the work of artists who wanted to present their art in an accessible fashion. David was one of these artists. His zine Electric City focuses on his 2013-2014 travels through Mississippi, New Orleans, and New York City that were documented with Impossible Black and White Film and his dependable Polaroid Sun 600 camera. One of the joys of this project for David was the unpredictability of the medium. Sometimes the frames came out sharp and detailed; sometimes smokey and hazy. The magical part was all of them felt like nighttime, even in broad day light. Joined with three short stories, 20 Polaroids are shown across 20 pages to show you the shadowy corners of the world that has meant something to David.

Electric City (Published 11/30/2014)
Digest 8.25" x 5.25"
20 Pages
Saddle-Stitched
$10.00



David’s zine Electric City is special in that it includes three short stores among his twenty images. His words take us to in the moment thoughts and situations he encountered on his travels. Surprisingly, his story telling is vivid and compliments his images perfectly. David is able to drop us into the middle of his journey on three separate occasions and immerse us with details to ensure our imagination takes us to exactly where we need to be.

His first story takes place in front of an aging painted jeweler’s window’s sign. He reflects on the gentrification of a neighborhood that has long since changed from his last visit and especially his memories.

In the second David takes us to a Waffle house in Mississippi. This particular waffle house is not like the bone-shattering cold ones you experienced in high school. You know the type, the kind that have “shouting drunk twenty-somethings hogging the booths and vomiting in the bathroom sinks, no intense trucker guy sitting at the counter hissing like a ferret at anybody that walked too close, nobody with face tattoos talking about a court date. In other words, unlike every other Waffle House in Mississippi you’ve ever been in, some of which take on a palpable aura of danger at a certain point in the night.”

In his third and final short story we are transported to the middle of a car ride in a old burgundy Buick, it only had 17,000 miles on it but smelled like a damp basement in the winter.

Excerpt:
“I wonder if you remember that year we just listened to R.E.M. for a whole month straight, really just Document and Reckoning. When one was over you’d mash the finicky eject button with your thumbnail and jam the other CD into the dash. A whole June of you calling it “Don’t Go Back to Starkville” to make me mad, thirty days of yelling out “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” somehow managing to botch the timing of the Leonard Bernstein part every single time.”

In conclusion, go support David and pick up a copy of Electric City! You will want to read this whole zine to truly have the Electric City experience! It’s only $10.00 and is worth every penny. Pick up a copy on Magcloud. To see more of David’s work visit his Tumblr.


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Man… probably the most mysterious species on our planet. A mystery of unanswered questions.

Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How do we know what we think we know? Why do we believe anything at all?

Countless questions in search of an answer… an answer that will give rise to a new question… and the next answer will give rise to the next question and so on.

But, in the end, isn’t it always the same question? And always the same answer?