News & Information
The Wall Street Journal, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy’ Review: Documents of Decay
A photographer catalogs the victims of deindustrialization between 2012 and 2016. By William Meyers, December 23rd, 2017.
"The pristine small towns of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—the spiffy villages of Colonial and Federal red-brick architecture and Victorian homes with gingerbread ornamentation—are not the ones Justin Kimball documented in “Elegy,” the exhibition of his work at the RISD Museum. His are the mill towns in those states in various degrees of decay. Mr. Kimball (b. 1961) visited these victims of deindustrialization between 2012 and 2016. The individual towns are not identified; instead, just the names of the streets on which the nine pictures were taken are used as titles suggesting the generic nature of their problems. And the individual pictures are not dated, suggesting the continuing nature of those problems."
PDN Annual Awards 2017, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy' Winner Photo Book Category
The Boston Globe, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy' Review
Photographer Justin Kimball focuses on the down and out. By Cate McQuaid, December 1st, 2016.
"Kimball, who teaches at Amherst College, traveled to tumble-down neighborhoods in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, photographing buildings and people in towns apparently deserted by industry. Property values have sunk and abandoned houses pock the landscape, but residents stay, loyal to their communities or maybe too strapped to move. There are lucid stories of struggle and the bonds of family and friends in Kimball’s compelling, necessary images of people. But his forceful photos of buildings and streets dominate. A shallow depth of field pushes imagery to the forefront, like sets looming at the rim of a stage; tight compositions could induce claustrophobia."
ZEKE Magazine, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy' Review
By Glenn Ruga
"Looking through Elegy in 2017, one is painfully aware of how prescient this work is, created earlier in the decade and certainly before Donald Trump was elected president by the residents of the communities photographed by Kimball. While the urban, educated, and tech-savvy residents of more affluent areas cannot fathom why the dispossessed would support a party and a man that will only make their lot worse, looking at these photographs makes us aware, and perhaps shameful, of the desperation that would allow for this, and perhaps our own complicity."
Fraction Magazine, Favorite Books of 2016, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy' Review
By Lauren Greenwald, 2016.
"The photographs for this body of work began in 2012, when the news was filled with the 2012 election and the media was focused on the 1% and the middle class. The communities outside these confines were less of a priority at the time. But Kimball, based in Massachusetts, saw them. He observed that there was something ubiquitous in these towns: struggle, hope, perseverance, and a sense of what they were and what they might become. He started photographing the towns, and people's back yards, looking for clues to how people put their lives together. Initially, people assumed he was "...either from the government, or the bank." They thought his tripod was a transit and he was surveying the properties, or he was documenting the buildings for collections agencies. But then, they were curious, and generously allowed him to photograph their property, and in some cases, themselves."
Saint Lucy, Book Report No. 1, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy' Review
By Mark Alice Durant, 2016.
"This is the first in a regular series of essays on photobooks. Books discussed in this first installment are Elegy by Justin Kimball, Rift / Fault by Marion Belanger, and Either Limits or Contradictions by Nick Meyer.
Neither sentimental or cynical, Kimball’s photographs are as elegant as they are indisputable. He is both clear-eyed and quietly compassionate. This is our America. The places that Kimball photographs are far from the pockets of wealth and gentrification that certain shiny urban oases can boast. The social and economic neglect of poor and working families in the late 20th and early 21stcenturies, has created permanent worlds of desperation. These places are vivid symbols of the ravages of trickle-down economics and tax cuts, which instead of creating proud and self-sufficient citizens, has instead offered minimum wage jobs, underfunded schools, lack of health care, and the self-hatred that wicks from the stubborn belief, despite all evidence, that all one has to do is work hard and one will be rewarded. Echoing Walker Evans, Robert Frank, or even Doug Ricard, Kimball might have employed some reference to America in his title. I am pleased that he refrained. He instead titled it Elegy — a sadder, yet more honest suggestion, that the dream of America is no match for its growing despair."
Photo District News, Notable Books 2016, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy' Review
By David Walker, 2016.
What You Will Remember, Best of 2016, 'Justin Kimball: Elegy' Review
By Elin Spring, 2016.