James Hannick’s photography spans a range of wildlife, animals, landscape, urban architecture, refraction, and portraiture, presented in various sizes and color schemes. The overall collection is notably experimental and traces the path of development of photography from its beginnings, alongside short notes and descriptions accompanying the situation being presented.
Hannick’s account begins with a brief account of his motivation in pursuing photography, along with a short poem which sets a good tone for which Hannick wishes the photos to be perceived. He delves into personal anxiety and depression and importance of its support through family and photography, and the poem “Breathe”, in rhymed free verse, is a good introduction that uncovers the underlying character of the collection.
The collection of photos is of widely variable quality, from very amateur shots of lousy framing and little content (the mushrooms!) to almost Windows wallpaper landscape photos. The process of experimentation is tangible throughout the pages. Some photos have subtlety in color degradation, some are mainly color contrast, and some black and white. The use of chiaroscuro, however, leaves much to be desired. The photo editing is so notorious and the contrast is so highly saturated that it is bothersome to the eyes and just plain distracting to what is actually in the photo. There are also photos which are not obviously overprocessed, but nevertheless have no real content and it seems as though Hannick himself wasn’t too sure what he is really trying to show, and this relates particularly to the wildlife and aquarium pictures at the beginning of the book.
Hannick’s real talent can be evidenced in his urban architecture and lighthouse shots. His framing is quite brilliant and his use of colors is impressive. These photos, alongside some of the waterfall photos earlier on, approximate wallpaper images or stock photos.There are a few impressive landscape photos which are composed of several smaller shots, the largest one being composed of seven individual shots constructed seamlessly. One urban photo of the Myrtle Beach boardwalk, which is not remarkably framed or saturated, captures the livelihood of place without actually any people in the picture (there’s one, in black, not very discernible) in which even the flags seems to be moving, which is a remarkable accomplishment. These photos have a cheerful tone to them, even the tombstone shot, which begs to be referenced back to the initial poem which provides greater context for how these shots turned out to be so pleasantly composed.
The accompanying notes are mostly explanatory and some even tell the reader where to look in the shot, but some really contribute nothing and just seem to try to add information onto a picture which is quite empty and unremarkable (a reference to the wildlife and refraction bits).
A Thousand Word Love Affair really just documents Hannick’s feeling for photography rather than contribute to the art of photography itself. It is recommended if you are just starting out on photography yourself and wish to look at how another photographer has developed their process from its beginnings. The experimental tone provides variety of post-processing, color schemes, sizing, framing, composition, quality, and genre, but tends to stay within the “still working it out” end of the provided spectrum.
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