Steven Bollman: Almost True
“Bollman’s photographs enable us to glimpse mysterious depths below the surface details of everyday life. What might seem whimsical upon first glance gives way upon steady reflection to profound beauty and suffering. There is a melancholy to his black and white images, a bittersweetness leavened by their uncanny knack for capturing everyday street life.” – Alex Ramos, curator Almost True at The Gallery/Leica San Francisco
Photographer Steven Bollman states about his new book, Almost True, “thirty years in the making, but covering just a few seconds in real time”. In assessing the cover of Almost True, the book could be confused for a novel, instead it’s a journey into the lives of ordinary people in ordinary places captured in a split second, playing out true scenarios on the stage of the real world. As he states, “You have to know where to look. And when to snap the shutter” and thankfully for us, he does. Almost True is a masterful collection of short stories contained in a single frame and like all good writers, he leaves just enough room for mystery and ambiguity.
This compilation of magnificent seeing is comprised of 81 black and white photos carefully sequenced into nine chapters. The diverse images included in Almost True draw from over three decades of work from many different projects including Cuba during Fidel Castro’s time, religious processions in Sicily, and during the elections in Haiti in 1987. Almost True is published by F8Books and can be purchased here.
Steven currently has a solo exhibition at The Gallery at The San Francisco flagship Leica store that runs through February 10th and he is giving a bookmaking talk on February 3 from 2-5pm at The LightRoom – 2263 Fifth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710. 510-649-8111
Steven Bollman gained an interest in photography at an early age. He was shy but obsessively curious about the people and places around him and the camera helped him better understand. In 1983, he graduated from The School of Visual Arts in NYC after studying with Julio Mitchel. Freelance editorial and commercial assignments followed, with work published in U.S. News, Newsday, World Report, Vanity Fair, and Aperture among others. Steven Bollman currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The concept behind Almost True deals with the premise that people bring their own ideas and interpretations to deciphering photographs. The epigraph by Harold Pinter (from his play, Old Times) encapsulates the idea: “There are some things one remembers even though they may never have happened.”
There are many ways to group photos; topic, time, place are familiar ones. Almost True, explores other ways to group photos and play with narrative. I’ve taken the 81 photos in the book and divided them into 9 sections. Each group relying on emotional, gestural, and graphic interplay to name a few.
The photos were taken over 34 years in many different places: California, Cuba, Sicily, Cuba, Haiti, Italy, Mississippi, New York, Oakland, Portugal, Santa Fe, and Spain.
I designed the book to be on the small size (9″H x 6″W), but by making all of the photos full page spreads the photos open up to 12″W x 9″H. “Small book, big picture.” The binding was designed to be opened flat. By having each photo shown alone across a spread the viewer can hold the book in their lap and as they turn the pages have one image dissolves into another, in a cinematic way. – Steven Bollman
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