Episode 2.6 – Ken Schles
I have to confess. There are serious gaps in my understanding of photography history. I didn’t study it at school. I’m completely self-taught. I’ve done my best over the years to educate myself, but there’s still plenty I’m missing. That was the case with Invisible City by Ken Schles. It was a name I’d read in a few articles here and there, but I’d never seen it. It was a collectors item. Over the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with Ken a few times at various gatherings. Those conversations have always left me thinking about something interesting.
In 2012, The Photo Book Club created an enhanced PDF meant to view on the tablet. This was the first time I started to understand the nature of the book a little better. I was hooked. I knew this was a book I’d have to get my hands on to check out at some point. Last year sometime I heard that Invisible City was going to be re-published by Steidl, and then another feature appeared on Daylight. Invisible City was very much visible again to the photobook community.
On the day of the episode, I arrived late to Ken’s place and was nervous. There was too much I wanted to talk about, and I wasn’t sure if I’d hit all the topics I thought would be interesting.
As we settled in, I was able to page through Invisible City and Night Walk. It was difficult to maintain the conversation. Here I was, viewing these two great books for the first time, while getting ready to interview the photographer who made them. It was overwhelming. The books knocked me out like few photobooks ever have in my life. It’s one of those moments I won’t soon forget, and exactly one of the reasons why I enjoy doing this podcast so much.
If you’re in New York City, be sure to check out Ken’s opening at Howard Greenberg Gallery on January 29th at 6pm.
You can view the spreads at the links below.
Executive Producer / Host Bryan Formhals
Audio Engineer and Music by Tom Starkweather