French photographic artist Emmanuel Georges has been documenting his travels since the mid-1980s, a black and white series on the United States revealing what would be a longtime fascination with the country. Countless other countries have been captured by Georges, but few have had the same impact on the artist himself; and never in the decades since has his keen eye for the dissolution of the American dream been so frighteningly relevant.
We keep hearing about ‘making American great again’ — truth is, it’s rarely been in worse shape; headlines having turned into a dystopian nightmare that would have been deemed fiction-gone-too-far when Georges first documented the country. The French artist’s focus is firmly set on the ‘flyover states’, and takes in a host of places where the American dream is well past its sell-by date. Detroit to Butte, the half-deserted former mining city Montana and through the Rust Belt from Pennsylvania to Arkansas; over 25,000 kilometres and one familiar thread: melancholy.
The decaying façades of industry; gas stations; abandoned motels; movie theatres with doors long closed — iconic images of urban American, captured in all their desolation with a large-format camera and an astute sense of poetic narrative. Georges’s curiosity for remote places and ability to capture emotion in their loneliness makes for compelling viewing, and those thousands of kilometres have no been distilled into an impressive new compendium released by German art-book publisher Hatje Cantz; America Rewind 112 pages of solemn Americana.