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MY BLANK PAGES
by Michael Schmelling

192 pages / 6.25 x 8 in. / Paperback w/ dust jacket
185 color photographs + handwritten annotations throughout
ISBN 978-0-9897859-5-2
2015

** See also: The Week of No Computer

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** One of TIME’s Best Photobooks of 2015 **
** Shortlisted for the Photo-Text Award, Recontres d’Arles 2016 **
>> Reviewed by Jörg Colberg, January 2016

“I was leaving New York in 2012 and all I wanted to bring with me were these boxes of 4×6 prints…”

Open any copy of Michael Schmelling’s My Blank Pages and you encounter a curious murmur of handwriting in the margins around the photos: dates, memories, quotes, recipes, anecdotes, stray thoughts on the practice of photography, points of reference. The images are from an archive of 4×6 machine prints made casually over the course of Schmelling’s career as a photographer — the fragmentary background noise of an itinerant working life, excavated, reclaimed and reframed here as an oblique autobiography. Messy and intimate, the photographs depict rooms he has inhabited over the years (studio spaces, photo shoots, apartments), people he has known (writers, musicians, models, friends, other photographers, editors), and every-day specifics (books, prints, production materials). A self-reflective departure from his documentary and portrait-based book projects, My Blank Pages continues a side project Schmelling began in 2008 with The Week of No Computer, which reappears in the center of this book in a revised and condensed form. Annotated by hand, bound with no covers and wrapped in a manila jacket, each copy of this limited print run is unique, as if on permanent loan from a shelf in the artist’s home.


Michael Schmelling is the author of several photo books, including Shut Up Truth (J+L Books, 2002), The Week Of No Computer (TV Books 2008), The Plan (J+L Books, 2009), Atlanta: Hip Hop & The South (Chronicle, 2010) and Land Line (J+L Books 2013). Schmelling’s work from The Plan was included in the 2013 ICP Triennial: A Different Kind Of Order; his first one-person museum exhibition, Your Blues, a commission from The Museum of Contemporary Photography, opened in October 2014.

michaelschmelling.com