Where We Find Ourselves
Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press
Published in association with Columbia College Chicago
Kimball’s compelling photographs depict ordinary people—parents and teens, grandparents and kids—in landscapes of leisure. These are not the exclusive resorts and white sand beaches of the affluent; rather, they are the parks, campgrounds, and fishing piers where most Americans vacation. They are natural landscapes—inviting, green, and sometimes beautiful—but at the same time they are imperfect—muddy, crowded, and partially paved. There is nothing idyllic about these vacation spots; indeed, Kimball’s photographs make clear that daily life can never be fully left behind. The people in his pictures, though momentarily transformed by cascading water or the shade of towering trees, remain enmeshed in ties of family and obligation, shadowed by thoughts of home.
It is Kimball’s particular genius to isolate these moments between duty and pleasure. Where We Find Ourselves enables viewers to identify with—and participate in—this bittersweet aspect of American leisure and the ambiguous contemporary relationship between people and nature.
"It takes a while to realize just how good this book is. . . . Keep on looking, though, and you'll see that whatever moment is the magic moment or the decisive moment or simply the moment that distills a scene into its essence, Justin Kimball finds it. . . . In most of the plates there is a felt psychological weight, and yet that which is being weighed is hard to specify. Perhaps that is what gives Where We Find Ourselves its considerable power. . . . Kimball has no interest in making statements about nature, nor does he appear eager to document how humans ruin nature. He is interested in the people occupying the spaces he happens on, and he is content to leave interpretations to those fortunate enough to peruse a copy of Where We Find Ourselves."
"Where We Find Ourselves represents uncomplicated and unadulterated bliss. . . . The fact that these vacation spots are so accessible and so simple make the photos seem even more spectacular. . . . Where We Find Ourselves keeps memories like a family photo album, but with absolutely stunning pictures."