Having followed Ed Panar's work for a couple of years now I'd only recently got around to buying this book along with his latest "Animals that Saw Me". But I think this is my preferred book of the two. Don't get me wrong, "Animals" is fantastic both in execution and concept, but I prefer the photographs in "Golden Palms" because they are, quite simply, beautiful.
The first thing that strikes me about "Golden" is how much it reminds me of William Eggleston, not just in terms of their compositional sensibilities but also their acute awareness of colour and light. In the interview that comes enclosed with the book Ed reveals that he was often struck by the intensity of the California light and it certainly shows.
Perhaps I'm biased, because Ed's aesthetic is one that I firmly identify with. I know its probably the great photographic cliche of recent times but to me, beauty IS indeed in the banal, we just need to look hard enough. There is no question that Ed's photography, which is mostly devoid of human presence, trains its focus on the quieter, less noticed aspects of our urban world; and I think his photographs reveal to us not just the subtle beauty that we often take for granted, but also how the very things we create can seem so alien and unfamiliar when extracted from the flow of life, and made available for scrutiny in a photograph.
Of course Ed's photographs also excel on a purely formalistic level, the colours in his photographs are not accidental and everything that appears in his frames is by design. Imbued with a sense of subtle irony (and more than a pinch of humour), "Golden Palms" is a surreal visual diary of a man's walks through California as much as it is an exploration of form, colour, and symbolism.
Panars book is a must have. JandL books have puplished another gem. Seeing the streets of LA trough Panars eyes opens a new perspective. Away from the usual scenery Panars view is intriguing and sometimes funny but beautifull in all aspects. I can't wait to see more from Ed Panar.