Bob Walden: Negligence Photography
Bob Walden: Negligence Photography
These photographs portray people whose lives have been changed by accidents, medical malpractice, and defective products.
These photographs portray people whose lives have been changed by accidents, medical malpractice, and defective products. Read more
About this project
For over 20 years, Bob Walden worked as a freelance legal photographer throughout the New York City area. By the time he retired in 2012, he had worked on nearly 10,000 cases, most of them plaintiff’s negligence cases. The photographs display scars, injuries and deformities caused by accidents, medical malpractice and defective products. Others show where accidents occurred — apartments destroyed by fires, broken and raised sidewalks, potholes, street intersections, planes, boats, trains, vehicles, elevators, and more. Some of his images were used in the largest legal cases of the past few decades, but most of his subjects were everyday people that became victims of unfortunate circumstances.
Bob has said that “truth is not presented in photographs; they are tools that are used to get at the truth,” and this is ever apparent in his work. Taken on their own, without the context of the legal case or the story of the subject’s life, the images become poetic meditations on the body and the body transformed. Plastic and metal implements turn a limb into a mechanical still life. The inner layers of the body are literally exposed. Figures assume new forms that seem impossible and otherworldly. It is difficult to look, but more difficult to look away.
About these people, Bob writes, “Instantly, their lives were physically and emotionally shattered and changed. In a society obsessed with beauty and youth, their ravaged bodies confront the viewer’s own notions of immortality. How one deals with traumatic experience in terms of chosen body language, clothing and environment is part of the enigma presented here.”
There is also a component of the series that confronts questions of class and race in the New York of the mid-1980s through today. The lamentable truth is that most of his subjects were middle or low-income and people of color, segments of society that are often more likely to be victims of negligence. They are not the victims of national wars, but the victims of class warfare, living in neglected neighborhoods and receiving inferior services. In this way, the images are not just portraits of individual victims, or a portrait of pain and suffering, but also achieve what much documentary photography hopes to achieve: to portray a group of society exhibiting survival and resolve in the face of adversity.
$10: Thanks! Your name will be included in the acknowledgements section in the book.
$25: Receive a special set of 5 postcards, each with a different image from the series, plus your name in the acknowledgements section of the book. Postcards are only available to KickStarter backers.
$50: Receive a copy of the book, plus the postcards, and your name will be included in the acknowledgements section in the book.
$100: Receive a copy of the book, signed by Bob Walden, along with a signed 4" x 6" print from the series. Your name will also be included in the acknowledgements section of the book.
$250: Receive a signed copy of the special edition of the book, which includes a signed 7" x 10" print from the series. Your name will also be included in the acknowledgements section of the book.
$500: If you live in the New York area (or are traveling here), Bonnie and I will take you out to pizza (probably at John's, but you can also pick the place) and we can talk photography, books, and whatever else you want. You'll also receive the signed special edition of the book and acknowledgement in the book.
$1,000: Receive a special 8" x 12" print from the series, signed and numbered in a limited edition of 15. You'll also receive a signed copy of the special edition of the book and acknowledgement in the book.
$2,500: If you live in the New York area (or are traveling here), Bonnie and I will take you out to pizza and the man himself, Bob Walden, will join us. You'll also receive the signed special edition of the book, the limited edition print, and acknowledgement in the book.
About BCBL Books
BCBL Books is a new publishing imprint started by Bonnie Briant and Collin LaFleche. We’re both photographers and have always loved books. We’ve been involved in publishing in different ways over the years (Bonnie works for a book designer; Collin has published several of his own artist books), and we started BCBL Books because we wanted to find interesting projects and make them happen.
Risks and challenges
If the KickStarter is successful, there are very few risks involved in realizing this project. Bonnie and Collin both have experience in the publishing world, and we'll do everything in our power to make sure that the project stays on schedule and that the book is printed in August for a September 2014 release.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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