Book Review: The Beautiful Flower Is the World by Jerry Hsu
California-based photographer and legendary pro-skateboarder Jerry Hsu released his second book, The Beautiful Flower Is the World, at the…
California-based photographer and legendary pro-skateboarder Jerry Hsu released his second book, The Beautiful Flower Is the World, at the start of summer 2019 with Anthology Editions. The book fits a summer vibe perfectly. Hsu began his blog, NAZI GOLD, in 2009 as a curated “feed” of cell phone photos in addition to his work with traditional photography and film practices. The blog showcased Hsu’s unique razor-sharp wit and fascination with life’s absurdities through unplanned snapshots of friends and strangers, skate culture, roadside curiosities, juxtapositions and apparently anything else that he deemed sharable.
The experience of looking through The Beautiful Flower Is the World will be immediately familiar for viewers used to ingesting photos by the dozen on their mobile devices. Hsu quickly paces the images from one page to the next. The images are printed only slightly larger than a iPhone screen, and the pages and page edges are black — perhaps an ode to the little black mirror itself. In a stream-of-consciousness, witty arrangement, Hsu presents images which lead the viewer through whimsy, beauty, irony, and just plain fun.
References to art history trickle their way into portraits with ‘Vermeer-esque’ shapes against suburban backdrops. A fascination with language and typography also appears throughout, with graffiti scribbles, religious slogans and discarded posters. It is a feast for the media-engorged lifestyle of experiencing photography in endless scroll.
The book’s title is taken from a t-shirt Hsu found and documented in his blog, a poetic summation of his ironic or cynical take on the happenstance findings explored in the book. The Beautiful Flower Is the World takes its readers through the artist’s journey weaving the high and low trappings of American culture with photography, capturing everything from bootleg t-shirts and bathroom stall graffiti to unexpected truths and the occasional subtleties of human folly — from childish fun with a shopping basket over a young boy’s head to a snap of Spiderman peering from a window ledge.
The Beautiful Flower Is the World
by Jerry Hsu
6.5″ x 9.5″ 288 pages
Published by Anthology Editions, 2019
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Hsu is a photographer and professional skateboarder based in Los Angeles, California. As a photographer, he is noted for his early blogs, NAZI GOLD and Table for One. His work has appeared in publications including The New York Times Magazine, Vice, iGNANT, and Lodown Magazine; and he has exhibited in Sweden, Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, Prague, Milan and Tokyo. Prior to The Beautiful Flower Is the World, Hsu published numerous zines, as well as his first photography book, The Killing Season, in 2013.
Anthology Editions uncovers and fashions cultural narratives as books, music collections, online experiences, and exhibitions. Stories of every caliber and color communicate and resonate within the new canon Anthology Editions seeks to establish. To purchase a copy of The Beautiful Flower Is the World click here.
Originally published at F-Stop Magazine.