Aaron Schuman’s SLANT @ Poetry Foundation
SLANT (2019), photographer Aaron Schuman’s new book, combines documentary photography with found poetry excerpted from the newspaper police blotter of Amherst, Massachusetts—an archetypal New England town known for its quaint scenery and for being the birthplace of poet Emily Dickinson. Schuman, a native of the nearby college town of Northhampton, invokes Dickinson in his epigraph, which also lends his book its title: “Tell all the truth / but tell it slant–.”
Like Dickinson, Schuman invites readers to consider images that have a plainspoken surface but evoke deeper complexities. His photographs and police clippings are quotidian yet incongruous, creating a kind of visual poetry from what seems like the straightforward stuff of daily life. This deep looking generates a reciprocal appreciation for the weirdness beneath otherwise ordinary surfaces, and for the incredible dynamism of “truth”—not just truth in the grand political sense, but truth in the everyday realities that confront us.
Schuman is an artist, writer, and curator based in the United Kingdom. His previous photobook is FOLK (2016). He has written for Aperture, Foam, Frieze, the British Journal of Photography, and others. This interview was condensed and edited.
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