Fred Mitchell: If You Go, All the Plants Will Die
When Fred Mitchell moved to Las Vegas, he noticed that all the plants around him seemed to be dead or dying. He was also working through the final stages of a failing relationship. The universe seemed to be playing an ironic trick, his relationship was ending and so was the life of the plants. It was this epiphany that birthed Mitchell’s monograph, If You Go, All the Plants Will Die. Released in June 2021 by Yoffy Press, the book combines Mitchell’s photography with poetry by Derrick C. Brown to create a meditative musing on the cyclical nature of human relationships. Mitchell’s photographs are stark black and white images of dying flora. A houseplant sits shriveled and un-potted, a once beautiful floral arrangement is dried and drooping, a tree is cut in half, desiccated brush forgotten on the side of the road. The photographs are beautiful in their simplicity. Light and shadow depict the demise of once vibrant plantlife that are now dried and brittle, one touch away from crumbling to dust. The images are heightened by Brown’s poetry and the two artists work in tandem to create deeper meaning. The pages bleed into one another, creating a feeling of loss, heartache, and loneliness; a reflection of the end of one life and the beginning of another.
If You Go all the Plants Will Die
While living in Las Vegas and suffering through the stages of a deteriorating relationship, I became hyper-aware of dying plants all around, mirroring and mocking my private life. I decided to embrace the absurdity and began documenting the haunting flora both in nature and in the studio. Peripherally, within IYGATPWD, I also examine the book-form as an art object, plants of the American Southwest, humor as a coping mechanism, male vulnerability, the canon of landscape photography, and abstract expressionist painting.
Technically speaking Fred Mitchell is legally blind, but through the miracle of optometry this German born artist was afforded the ability of sight. He has used this fortunate gift to take photographs & make photo books.
Fred has been described as having a massive potential for growth. Speaking of growth, his first monograph through Yoffy Press detailing a failed relationship by way of photographs of dead plants, color fields, and accompanying poetry is currently available. Other recent accolades include, Budapest International Foto Awards, PhotoLudica Critical Mass, Chico Review, British Journal of Photography, Subjectively Objective, BOOOOOOOM, Der Grief, Nowhere Diary, GUP Magazine, and Journal of Grievances. He has exhibited internationally in Berlin, Tokyo, and Rome.When not working, he is likely changing diapers for his newborn daughter, and trying to win the affection of his two dogs, who prefer the company of his spouse.
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