It’s an extraordinary time for photography and photographers. The boundaries have all but disappeared, the medium is as open as Mars for exploration. With the photo/graphic strips of Igor Pisuk, I’m reminded of just how strange and entertaining photography can be.
I see that great Weirdo angst of Robert Crumb in Pisuk’s images—gritty, low-fi, a bit like a used razor. But Pisuk also puts me in mind of the offbeat, but charming, nineteenth century proto-graphic novel, The Diary of a Nobody (1892), written by the brothers George and Weedon Grossmith and illustrated by Weedon himself. The preface to The Diary could have served for this feature just as well:
“Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see—because I do not happen to be a ‘Somebody’—why my diary should not be interesting.”
Pisuk’s everyman persona is not just interesting. It’s self-deprecating, punchy and mad in that “north-north-west” sort of way. The strips are full of the kind of calamitous banalities that are impossible not to recognize in ourselves. Check out more from his series “Dog Walker” at http://www.igorpisuk.com.
I was lying sick in bed. Angry about the elections. I saw the movie American Splendor and cried and laughed at the same time. This story fascinated me so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s a story about Harvey Pekar – an author of comics, who was one of the first who used the comic form to tell a story about ordinary life. Without super heroes, or a princess on a white horse, no fantasy, no fake. It was just life. Strong, funny, creepy, brutal and honest. Interestingly, Pekar wrote only a kind of script, and then he invited illustrators to make the pictures for his stories. For several years, I worked with personal documentary photography, but often I felt that I also needed words and dialogue.
American Splendor inspired me to create something similar to the comic form. I decided to use my own photos and put them into a filter that eliminated greyscale tones. I started to combine them in squares with dialogue and small observations from my life. It’s about weakness, different jobs, loneliness, fear, love and everything that is important to me. It’s a kind of visual haiku of my ordinary life.