Close Your Eyes / SPBH Editions
selected by the New York Times Magazine and American Suburb X as one of the top photo books of 2014
'Close Your Eyes is a book for which I have not seen a precursor. It is wholly original in content and reminds me that there are people out there still making work on the fringe, the marginal, with a wholly original aptitude for color, liminal diaristic intent, and perfectly obtuse lens culture.'
'This is my favorite publication of 2014. I think to miss the proverbial boat on this one would relegate your own limited understanding of to what photography can be and to where it is heading as the millstone of traditional image practice sinks to the bottom of the lake with so much dead weight attached to it.'
Both quotes from Brad Feuerhelm's review on American Suburb X
116 pages photos
21.6 x 26.7 cm
Edition of 1000
Each book comes with a signed artwork (hence the slightly more expensive price than you may find elsewhere).
Close Your Eyes is a frenzied reworking of the accumulated archive of photographer Gareth McConnell. An onslaught of kaleidoscopic imagery fuses portraits he took of rave-goers in Ibiza with hyper real, vivid scenes of the sun rising as the night bleeds into the morning. We see bleached out crowds appearing like faceless spectres dancing en mass, and figures bursting into light as if in symbolic emancipation. Punctuating the book are various examples of paraphernalia found by McConnell relating to the Zen mystic Osho, who gained an international following and whose people are said to have experimented with Ecstasy and taken it into clubs in Ibiza for the first time. Other found imagery in the book references a number of key moments in recent British history from the Battle of the Beanfield to the London Riots of 2011.
Close Your Eyes is a personal political piece – a frustrated meditation on the nature of human movement and occurrence, an embodiment of the power of mass communion in it’s many forms, and the delirious but bittersweet pleasure of losing oneself to hedonism from the view of someone who saw it from within. As an object, the book is an immersive experience, galvanized with a primal energy that distills the raw energy of the rave, it’s rapture and it’s ecstasy. Glitches and repetition as figures emerge and withdraw into abstraction see the book follow a current similar to what one would have found in those raves and we find ourselves moving through it charged with the same raw energy – rhythm, pulse, rave, repeat. By Joanna Cresswell