Photographer Jesse Diamond was coming off a divorce, and struggling with loneliness and uncertainty when he began making the black-and-white photographs that comprise his forthcoming book, White Noise (minor matters). Without realizing why, he was drawn to compositions that set lone figures in empty spaces, and to crowded scenes. Looking back, Diamond writes, his attraction to the scenes he captured relates to his childhood on the road with his musician father. “To this day, I find comfort in being alone within a vast space, and I also feel very much at home in large, crowded surroundings.”
The connection between Diamond’s images and music also comes up in Ralph Gibson’s short essay for the book. Diamond studied music, but is a primarily self-taught photographer who worked with Gibson, Greg Gorman and Sam Abell, among others. Gibson writes that Diamond’s book “brings sound to my eyes,” comparing the effect of looking at the images to experiencing the “soft drone” of sound art.
It’s also interesting to consider the idea that white noise has a calming effect for many people. In a stressful and uncertain period of his life, these photographs offered Diamond something similar, it seems. “I can see now I was simply looking for comfort, and found it, within those scenes of emptiness,” he writes.
The book, which is available for preorder, draws on two series, “White Noise” and “After Hours,” and Diamond is showing prints of the latter at Leica Gallery Los Angeles in September.