Last year, we interviewed long-time Brooklynite Laura June Kirsch about the work she was putting into her book of photographs, Romantic Lowlife Fantasies. Now, Kirsch is days away from a book signing and the book a few weeks from hitting shelves.
The book (and even a nifty mug!) are now on pre-order ahead of an August 17 book signing. For those who lived during the period depicted in the book — the Obama years — the book may provide a look at our north Brooklyn neighborhoods on the cusp of gentrification while sharing a “fun trip down memory lane,” per Kirsch. For the younger generation who arrived to Brooklyn as the Obama years turned toward those of another president who shall not be named, you may be asking, “Where are everyone’s phones?” The book captures a moment that was freer, unglued to technological wiles and more in the moment.
May the book be a reminder of the fun times that rolled and the good ones we can still have.
Greenpointers: You must be itching to get this book out there! What are you most excited about in releasing the book?
Laura Kirsch: I am most excited for people to see the work! I’ve been dying to get this book out in the world.
So it was shot over the course of eight years starting in 2008, and I started editing it in 2016. In 2019 I started pitching it and the book was supposed to be released in 2020. Then this last year there were a lot of insane behind-the-scenes issues (so insane, I could write another book about it), and the book release got put off another year. I can’t wait to share this labor of love with everybody. I made this book as a feel good documentation of a moment in time. I can’t wait to connect with people over that.
When is the official release date?
So the “official” release date is due for September 28, but you can order the books from me directly now at www.RomanticLowlifeFantasies.com (the best way to support!). If you order after August 24, they will ship out mid-September.
The book is a limited edition run of 1K with a silver holographic foil stamp on the cover (any further releases will have a different foil).
Planning on an official book party that day, stay tuned for an RSVP!
Where can people buy it online and in stores?
RomanticLowlifeFantasies.com for now online, Brooklyn Record Exchange in Greenpoint and Bushwick, and after the 17th Launch Photo Books in Manhattan (part of Foley Gallery).
Do you feel the pictures depict a bygone era? How have times changed?
Absolutely. The intro to the book is about the optimism in the air during the Obama years, graduating during the recession was challenging and hard financially, yet it was also an incredibly magical and fun time. Maybe it was a matter of being young and ignorant but life felt a little less heavy then, time felt infinite and the good times rolled.
Technology more than anything has changed the social landscape. All it takes is one bad notification on your phone to take you out of the moment and potentially ruin your night. The lack of presence caused by phones/everybody documenting each moment instead of enjoying it is a major shift. Back in the day when you were out — you were out. We are usually one foot in and one foot out now.
What do you hope readers who lived in BK during this period depicted in the book take away from it? And those who didn’t?
I’d love for this to be a fun trip down memory lane for those who lived it, I hope it evokes warmth and a positive feeling.
For those who didn’t live it, I am super curious about how it makes them feel. As a photographer, the work should speak for itself and resonate with any viewer despite their relation to the moment. The goal of any art piece is to spark a feeling or connection in whoever sees it, even if they weren’t directly connected to it.
What else do you want to add?
Making a book is a beast of a job. I knew it would be hard, however the amount of work and effort put into this was 1000 times more than I anticipated (also dealt with some real unfortunate circumstances). If you see the work and like it by all means, reach out! I’d love to hear from you. This scene was all about community and I love hearing about people’s experiences.
I am doing a talk at Foley Gallery on August 17 — RSVP here if you’d like to come through.