Sing me a song for photography. With notes and voice strung up in warm light. Shane Rocheleau’s Lakeside is something thoughtful and robust.
Morning sun filters through the trees. Eggs in palms and fossilized teeth. Inside a neighborhood monsters can bloom. Men with bad attitudes and broken backs form visions between old picture frames and worn furniture. Howling over a chain link fence. A flock of birds at night scatter. Flashes of tree stumps commingle with hoarded rooms and the backs of men’s heads. Windows and sheets and Superman dreams blot the corners of every street.
Leaves, leaves. Rustle and sound in traps of browns and yellows at the grays of every crook of those cracked driveways.
What could Rocheleau be after? A snake, blooming fruit, colorful curtains, and light. A reflecting pool of empathy confused for narcissism. Maybe all that terrifying masculinity, locked behind all those Virginian suburban doors, is something as blindingly broken as much as it’s in need of aid? We need men, white-cis-heterosexual men, to put in time towards their own self-awareness. Who offers that aid? Realization of the self needs to birth from within. Rough skin; worn bags of flesh hanging, coarse whiskers, and jaws slipping just behind that roll of skin. Necks and shoulders slouched. That feeling when a middle-aged man emerges through a doorway like smoke. The evening sun—golden—catching his slow outline. Uncertainty sets in.
This monograph, Lakeside published by Gnomic Book, breathes a heavy breath of mournful dirge. Bloodshot eyes. Throats coughing into unkept hands, nails sharp and bent—pink, or something like it. A wrong direction becomes a meandering possibility of depth in perception between the covers of this book. The pictures come to be the basis for an elaborate system of materials and touching. The construction of this publication is clearly aware of its conceptual potential. How does an artist reflect the reality of their work back into the thing they make? There’s a big opportunity here to engage something as equally hyper-sensory in the book making process as was experienced in the picture making process. And so Rocheleau has embodied it.
There will always be a means to share space with disappointment and opportunity.
But here screams excitement and whoa! What’s found is hidden behind blue tarps, locked doors, layers of dust and junk. How does imagination play on the potential of all this stuff? Transmitters transiting. Dials and knobs all loom red with lights and glowing. Something here is clearly being conjured by the scratched floorboards and silent gestures, mounting and shifting in and out of focus. What becomes clear here in Lakeside is a kind of depletion, born by way of a citizenry’s exhaustion. Slow looking and clever coaxing of relationships between images and page turning drive the potential in the narrative. What is visual here becomes sound. What is forgotten is realized and floats between a river of soft and sharp.
Sing me a song, canary. Sing me of life and wonder. Pitch me a knocking hymn with clicking shutters and sounds that only cameras can make. Teach me what I can’t know until someone else offers their perspective. Sink your claws you bird of prey.
— Efrem Zelony-Mindell
Shane Rocheleau’s Lakeside is available for preorder now through Gnomic Book, purchase a future copy @ gnomicbook.com
Shane Rocheleau (MFA, Virginia Commonwealth University) is an American photographer whose work confronts the endemic position of toxic masculinity and white supremacy within the American experience. His work has been exhibited in the United States, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Ukraine, The United Kingdom, India, and Germany, and his photographs have been featured in a wide variety of online and print publications, including Aperture’s The PhotoBook Review, Dear Dave Magazine, The Heavy Collective, and Paper Journal. Rocheleau’s three monographs – You Are Masters Of The Fish And Birds And All The Animals (2018), The Reflection In The Pool (2019), and Lakeside (2022) – are published by Gnomic Book and variously collected by the Museum of Modern Art, the Vogue Italia Collection, Fondazione Teatro Regio di Parma, and Tate Britain, amongst others. Rocheleau currently lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.
Gnomic Book is an independent fine art imprint founded in 2016 and based in Portland, OR, with a focus on developing challenging projects by emerging artists in small, high-quality editions that explore the notion of book as object. Three Gnomic projects have been shortlisted for the Aperture / Paris Photo First Book Awards, and all of our books, present and future, are collected by the MoMA Library.