Zoë Waldman

Book Review Unfolding into Morning – Zoë Waldman

© Zoë Waldman

“Like my own personal journal, I’ve been weaving a thread between everywhere I’ve lived or been. The disparate nature of my images is a search to find commonality in a sea of seemingly detached things.”  – Zoë Waldman

─── by Rosie Torres, June 14, 2022
  • Presented by Pomegranate Press, Unfolding into Morning, the debut photo book by American photographer Zoë Waldman is a compelling reflection on the idea of home.

    Color photography by Zoë Waldman, yellow flowers from Unfolding into Morning

    Growing up,
    he moved frequently, living in a litany of places across the North American continent but never truly settled in any of them.

    Photography can be an outlet for a variety of conditions and in Waldman’s case, it helped him comprehend his vacillating surroundings, providing the sense of stability that he so craved.

    Color photography by Zoë Waldman, elderly couple from Unfolding into Morning
    Color photography by Zoë Waldman, scrapyard

    It is this very sensibility, that has formed the basis of his practice, and which engendered his inaugural publication.

    A solitary basketball hoop stands incongruously in an arid field; a television set in a corner of a darkened room, its pictures obscured by the light from a nearby window; a wood-hewn crucifix; a pastel-hued motel facade.

    Waldmann transcribes the subtle essence of his surroundings; subtle similitudes in seemingly disparate places interwoven by his own distinct vision.

    Color photography by Zoë Waldman, boys on mopeds resting

    Subtle minutiae in tiny corners of heterogeneous locations are punctuated by depictions of people (some strangers, others, perhaps intimates), all bathed in subtle, pastellist hues. Some might be places where he spent portions of his childhood, others perhaps destinations sojourned in more recent times. Regardless, each is presented with the same warmth and affection; a sense of belonging that belies their temporality, as home, for Waldmann, is wherever he is.

    Color photography by Zoë Waldman, from Unfolding into Morning

    “Everywhere, I’ve found that the similarities I come across are not so random afterall. I’m never looking for anything in particular – moments, things, people, they all become a blur. A good, meaningful blur.”

    Color photography by Zoë Waldman,
    Color photography by Zoë Waldman, wooden crucifix

    A rhythmic and meditative visual poem, characterized by a perceptivity and eye for tonality that evokes the work of the master colorists of the late 20th century, quotidian elements, perhaps seemingly unremarkable to the nescient eye, are rendered into absorbing images, that become even more so when consolidated.

    Presented back to front, in full size, 8.5 x 11, they endow one with the sense that they are flicking through a collection of old photographs; random memories, permeated with a strong, and at times, surreal sense of nostalgia.

    Color photography by Zoë Waldman, blue car and tarp, from Unfolding into Morning.

    Unfolding Into Morning
    is the manifestation of Waldmann’s own distinct, outlook, a collection of imagery that distills his nomadic sense of belonging.

    “It’s a feeling of connectivity and a genuine sense of where home is. Which for me, is always wherever I am.”

    Unfolding into Morning is available now via Pomegranate Press

    All images © Zoë Waldman