Santa Barbara Return Jobs Back to US co edited by Skinnerboox and Alejandro Cartagena
“A fitting book for our current US political climate”. Jeffrey Ladd for the Photobookstore
The surface of a city can lure us into its immediate beauty. It is through walking and getting lost that the surface seems to peel away and present new impressions. During a residency in Santa Barbara California, Alejandro took to the streets and to the World Wide Web to explore the idea of what this place could be. He was interested in how it had been previously constructed in the mind of the outsider; was it a college town? The home of Opera Winfrey and other Hollywood stars? The Soap Opera of the 90´s? The site of school shootings? Though on the exterior this small tourist town seemed the picture-perfect American-Mediterranean escape, just under the façade seemed to lay something uneasy. Santa Barbara is Cartagena’s explorations of a narrative of that that can only be felt from the outside. It is a book about perceptions of a place. It suggests that nothing is immovable and no one is safe.
“Another great book cover, this one more enigmatic, to say the least. Alejandro walks the street of Santa Barbara in California to un-portrait the place and to bring more questions than answers in his description of the world famous city. Voluntarily staying away from the Californian stereotypes, his wondering around at night and his attention to mundane details question the legitimacy for privilege that its inhabitants proclaim and turning the limbo city into a dubious purgatory. In the actual political turmoil and uncertain future for immigrants in the US, Alejandro Cartagena uses the spiritual power of Santa Barbara (the Saint) to question the economic power of Santa Barbara (the city) in a beautiful book and with a very dynamic sequence”. Cristina de Middle picked the book as one of the top books of 2016 for Photoeye
“There is a Terrain within this book, bank facades, television soap-opera bravado and the night, ill-illuminated passages that remind one of the possibility of life without light under the cloud that seems to rain down similar to that of Native American Indian petroglyphs of terrible storms. This symbology, this fervent fabric of decline is screened within the book, but it is subtle and perhaps that is why, it is doomed, like human behaviour and meaning, to the sidelines of a genetic and shared understanding of images. After all, the images that present the cavalcade of great disruption are only written about largely after the event…” the great comet pierced mother earth’s veil and the many of life were lost”. To say the writing is on the wall within these pictures is a not so subtle travesty or a bad joke that we can explore together from the bottom of the well. This book is HIGHLY RECOMMENED and if you should find yourself clutching, do count your days as it is written and it is already upon you”. –Brad Feuerhelm for American Suburb X
“Quite different to Cartagena’s other books and project, Santa Barbara Return Jobs Back To US flows through a variety of photographic styles to present an initially ambiguous portrayal of Santa Barbara, California. Through a cleverly sequenced torrent of images we slowly build layer upon layer of details and atmosphere. A book where a photographer and publisher’s joint skills blend to a very satisfying outcome”. Martin Amis picked the book as one of the top books of 2016 for Photobookstore UK
“Santa Barbara return the jobs back to US is chilling portrait of the American society. Masterfully edited and sequenced, every double page suggests tension, disavowal, something hushened for a long time that now seems uncontrollable. Somehow it feels like a premonition, like the calm before the storm, the overriding feeling that things are not quite what they seem to be”. Mariela Sancari picked the book as one of the top books of 2016 for Photobookstore UK
“I like that Alejandro Cartagena makes pictures that we can easily understand, like his “Carpoolers” project, or the photographs of mini-concrete houses, in his hometown of Monterrey, disappearing towards the horizon. But he also has a tendency to bring images together in ways that defy simple description. Many of the photographs in this book are not “about” anything per se, but their tone, seen together, leaves little mystery. Alejandro’s “America,” seen through the lens of “Santa Barbara,” is a place hanging on by a thread. There are several images in the book, peering down on the street, taken from high up in a building somewhere. In other, happier times, I might enjoy their dynamic perspective. “Wow, those are cool,” I might think. But in the context of 2016, I couldn’t help but imagine the photographer a lonely, bitter shooter, eyeing up his next victim through a rifle-scope, anxious to squeeze the trigger, and move the drama along to its natural conclusion”. –Jonathan Blaustein 2016
“Skinnerboox publications are among my favorite of late . . . Alejandro Cartagena’s “Santa Barbara Return Jobs Back To Us” sums up their brilliance in book making. Love the spreads, printing, materials, photographs, and conflated subject matter found in this page turner, as with several other of SB’s books. Dig it!”. MICHAEL AST
“…Through this narrative Cartagena conjures the sense of a place, which has the air of an ambiguous borderland, a porous place where culture and people flow. Whether it is between north or south, or past and present, is difficult to say. It is a place where the idea of concrete identities, nationalities and strictly delineated borders seem like a nostalgic dream or a relicfrom the past superseded by a new and very different reality – a place where the topography is treacherous, the present uncertain, and the future, even more so”. LEWIS BUSH for 1000 Words
1st Edition of 450 $70USD plus $20USD for donkey shipping anywhere in the world.