Borrowing its title from the Wallace Stevens poem in which “little existed for him but the few things / for which a fresh name always occurred,” Tim Carpenter’s Local Objects is a solid yet remarkably unassuming body of work: a calm, steady rhythm of 74 medium format photographs made in the semi-rural American Midwest. While each picture meticulously frames the seemingly random non-activity of a typical ‘street view’ image, Carpenter’s contemplative sequencing allows a surprising harmony of natural and geometric motifs to modulate quietly throughout the book — an interplay of minor chords that draw the viewer into this specific physical place (mostly central Illinois, where he grew up) and the subjective, literary space of the work. Detached from the urgency of current affairs, stripped of all excess, Carpenter’s photographs reflect a poetic attempt to see “the thing in itself,” to make meaning with the barest tools possible.
Both utterly prosaic and unexpected… Time after time I had that odd sensation of being suddenly startled by something I’d looked at a thousand times but never really seen. These pictures exist at the intersection of memories and dreams, like something glimpsed in the foothills of sleep.
— Brad Zellar