Yard Sale Photographs

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By Aaron Britt
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.

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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.

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Click on the link in the upper right corner to view a slideshow of select photographs from the book.

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