Yard Sale Photographs, a new book of photography by Adam Bartos, revels in the everyday castoffs and outmoded bric-a-brac that lard the average American garage sale. With a cover that apes a second-hand book, replete with a $1 price sticker, Yard Sale Photographs' cock-eyed affection for the objects of our lives--tennis racquets, spare tires, a set of glasses, well-used toys--and the ritual selling of them, is manifest.
In lieu of a preface or artist's statement, however, Bartos kicks off his book with a short story by Raymond Carver called Why Don't You Dance?. This small, terse, ambivalent tale is about a nameless young couple who come to visit a man's yard sale, and end up drinking and dancing with him.
In the masterful fashion one comes to expect from Carver, both the promise and the desperation one feels rooting through another's junk is made clear. The story casts a pall over Bartos' more sympathetic work, resulting in an artifact that is at once, not unlike a yard sale itself, a celebration and a funeral.
Click on the link in the upper right corner to view a slideshow of select photographs from the book.