In this postmodern age — where e-books and Kindles are society’s glittery new literary toys — New York photographer Erica Baum revisions literary ephemera into charming, poignant concrete poetic photographs that recontextualize the written word. Baum’s newest collection, Dog Ear, combines the art of searching for the past of an object with present interaction and preservation. It’s ephemera², if you will.
In an interview with Mousse, Baum explained the evolution and execution of Dog Ear:
“The project is called Dog Ear – squares of book pages with the corner turned down. When you save your place in a book by folding back the corner, the book becomes dog-eared. The pictures are formed by this juxtaposition of text between the two pages, the one folded down and then the one that then becomes visible behind it. I’m reauthoring the text in this simple act of folding the paper which creates a new view. I want the compositions to work both formally and linguistically, on several levels simultaneously. It looks simple but it’s actually very hard to find ones where everything comes together. I think in order for concrete poetry to succeed it has to operate in both these ways. I’m also adding a third thing to this mix because these have to be found in a book. In this case, the constraint is the page sequence. I pull open the card catalogue drawer [Index], or spread apart a paperback book [The Naked Eye], or fold down a page corner [Dog Ear] and these small interventions I employ when I photograph follow in the tracks of actual usage. In all of these projects I’m looking for something that in some sense already exists and has the potential to yield something else.”
The Naked Eye