For years now one of my biggest inspirations to start working on more print projects has been the enduring and creative output of Phil Elverum through his P.W. Elverum & Sun record label/shop. Most know him through his work as either Mount Eerie or The Microphones as he creates music that straddles calm frozen landscapes and roaring oceans. I saw him perform years ago at a free show in the lawn of a university and after casually picking up a cd that night I was hooked. His music and philosophy sunk into the emotional mess that I was at that time in my life and pushed me along in surprising ways.
I followed along as he broke away from K Records to pursue his own independent label through which he has released a number of albums of his own music and others. They are often paired with photography and art inside books, on oversized prints, or through other creative printing techniques. I have often looked on with a fond admiration that has left me with a number of ideas for projects that I am still patiently waiting to have time and resources to get off the ground.
His most recent release is a book of photographs called Dust. Inside you will find a loose yet cohesive collection of images taken all over the world, no doubt during his travels as a musician. In the rear of the book you will find a list of the locations for each photograph as well as an addendum in the form of a smaller softcover book also full of photographs.
To describe his photographic work I feel the best place to start would be by examining his music and the emotions he explores therein. He has long examined loneliness and the joy of being found by getting lost and coming to terms with the ghosts that surround us from day to day. The beauty of his vision of the world is not always seen through rays of sunlight but through foggy landscapes where nature and man collide.
The photos in this collection are dark and seem to stray away from current trends in photography and processing offering a viewpoint all their own in a delicate way thats hard to put into words. Both candid yet well considered he explores dusk and the fine line between light and darkness. The places he explores seem nearly forgotten and un-noticed by most that pass them by with exception of a handful of beautiful landscape photos of mountains lost among the clouds and moments stolen with friends.
It’s a wonderful book that I’m excited to have in my collection. The cover is bound in a semi-course linen on which the cover and spine graphic were pressed with a somewhat rubberized texture using a process I have not come across yet as far as I can remember. The printing is gorgeous considering the challenges involved in printing these photographs, many of which are dark and low in contrast, a tricky combination to get right.
I can easily recommend that any fans of Phil’s other work not even think twice about picking up a copy and anyone who loves independently printed and distributed work as much as I do have a closer look. It’s a beautiful collection well worth your support. For more information and to order this book (and a few records while you’re at it) visit his online shop here.