PDN Photo of the Day

The Black & White Secrets of “Independent Mysteries”

Independent Mysteries, the first monograph (and accompanying gallery show at the Toth Gallery), by New York City based photographer Michael Magers, is a collection of grainy black and white little secrets that deserves time to spent with it. It unravels with time, never quite revealing itself fully but satisfying you slowly but surely.

The collection of images comes from several years of both commissioned and personal work spanning several countries – Japan, Cuba and Haiti to name a few. With his camera Magers explores the poetry in small moments on the street and corners you wouldn’t take a second look at – both completely universal and overtly personal at the same time. He seems to seek the quiet in the within noise, or at least find magic there.

Independent Mysteries (which features design by Bonnie Briant) contains very little text. The images are essentially left for the viewer to decode themselves. What text there is comes from a collection of collaborators. Magers explains in his epilogue, “I asked a small group of artists and writers, all of whom were either directly or indirectly connected to these photos, to respond to the series and the emotions it evoked. Each contributor created an original poem, a monologue, a drawing, a short story, and helped, I think, to shift the work toward connection, rather than away from it.” The artists include Cuban Musician Daymé Arocena, photographer Larry Fink, Japanese tattoo artist Horiren, authors Matt Goulding and Mitch Moxley, and musician Matthew Shultz.

— Samantha Reinders

Independent Mysteries
Michael Magers
Hatje Cantz (published November 2019)

“Independent Mysteries”
Michael Magers
Toth Gallery

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