Bobby Doherty: Dream About Nothing (Signed copy)

Lauren Cook (text)

Loose Joints, 2023


Acclaimed American still-life photographer Bobby Doherty (b. 1989) pushes his precise visual language to a place of inarticulation and unconscious association, in a bold sequence of singular image arrangements, rhymed and bonded together.

Individually, Doherty’s photographs are quite clear. In front of you, a flower, a drinks can, a courgette, next an alloy wheel. But collectively their meanings become distorted. A photo of a popsicle carries a different weight once it is opposite a battered butterfly. But what are you meant to be looking at? Doherty’s images attempt to overwhelm the viewer with questions about what we consider mundane, and what we view as special, in order to ask a greater question: one that transcends “why this over that” but instead, “why anything at all?”

In Dream About Nothing, Doherty embarks on a more introspective articulation of his remarkably consistent visual practice. He invites us to pull back from the visually-tumbling-image-overload language that much of contemporary still-life and observational photography relents itself to, instead placing, with utmost care and precision, a line of observed things and places before your eyes. What does it all mean?

Doherty takes this question more seriously than the serotonin colours and satisfying framing of his images may suggest. Across five years of continuously photographing within and without the studio, Doherty rhymes images into a place where their categories break down, stripping away much of the warmer language of his previous book, Seabird. These pictures ask us to feel, albeit somewhat uncomfortably, the essence of a photographic voice, pulling at the seams of visual categories, asking both more and less of us from each photograph. From the big to the small, the broken to the pristine, Dream About Nothing shows Bobby Doherty making magic, as he rushes to the next photograph, waiting for you to turn the next page.


ISBN: 9781912719501

120 pagina's, 70 kleur afbeeldingen, 30,5 x 24 cm, hardcover, Engels