Pictures from Paradise
Michael Carlebach & Meg Laughlin
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
Published digitally for the very first time, Michael Carlebach's Sunny Land features photographs of Florida taken between 1971 and 2000. A long time resident, Carlebach's photographs reveal not holidaymakers, but residents locked into a kind of permanent vacation, endlessly chasing pleasure and satisfaction. As Carlebach describes in his introduction to the book, "Heat entices people out of doors where they can see and be seen... Dramatic vistas are commonplace and the clangour of the unknown for their promised fifteen minutes of fame...assures an endless supply of willing subjects for the camera". Sunlight is the constant presence in carlebach's pictures, forcing hard, lengthy shadows onto the ground around people; as the subtitle to the book suggests, these are 'Pictures from Paradise'.
And yet, from the corners of Carlebach's pictures, the mentality of this place presses itself upon the viewer: 'Forget Hell!' reads a car plate, while a shrine to Martin Luther King, fronted by a homeless man, insists 'we as a people will get to the Promised Land' – hints of the American Dream, that ungraspable mirage which lingers in the background of so many of Carlebach's images.