'I Walk Toward The Sun Which Is Always Going Down' at first appears as the singular perspective of a wanderer, traversing in and around the American desert city of Albuquerque. However, as the book progresses the viewer begins to feel just as much a wanderer within the fractured time and space created by Alan Huck as his work ebbs and flows between written prose and subtle, yet chronologically disorientating, colour and monochrome photographic images. If the philosopher Maurice Blanchot were to read this book he might find his statement ‘the reader, unlike the writer, naïvely feels superfluous’ begin to fall apart as a growing self-awareness begins to develop within the reader.
It would be wrong to draw parallels to writers and artists who explore the themes of walking, the flaneur, residency, and place within in their work, not because it would belittle Huck’s work, but rather because he already does it himself. Continuous references of writers, artists, philosophers, intellectuals and other cultural reference points pepper the work throughout. Surprisingly, this still maintains the feeling of an individual’s perspectives. Huck wears his thought process on his sleeve, unlike so many of us who attempt to conceal what had informed the work that we like to present as purely unique. There is something deeper to this than merely the creative musings de la process. One can’t help but feel that Huck is displaying to us the shortcomings of both photography and text. The image, unlike the written word, offers us an “actual” description of place, and yet it is only “actual” in terms of a singular moment in time, from a singular perspective dictated by those choices that the artist makes in composition, medium, process etc. Therefore, the inclusion of text alleviates the reliance on images as descriptors, whilst also more advertently discussing a broader array of information which Huck makes available through his comprehensive intellect. I do not think I am alone in at one-point questioning if this publication is a journal accompanied by photographs, or a photobook accompanied by journals. Perhaps it is simply a collaborative co-existence of complimentary languages in which occasionally a section of text leads harmoniously towards an image, while at other times an image leads to text.
As for Huck’s photography, he shows a delicate and sensitive deliberation on even the most mundane and banal surroundings, directly paying homage to Georges Perec’s observations of the “infra-ordinary” and Gary Winograd’s belief that everything is photogenic. His lack of prejudices regarding subject matter elevates detritus to the statues of the sculptural; trees become animated with elegant contortions foregrounding urban sprawl, and abandoned literature elegantly reflects the importance of language. At times we find ourselves confronted by his ability to illustrate even the minutest of nuances, disorientating our experience of place through the eyes of a photographer: a diptych of steel beams looking out towards a hill in which we try to fill in the gaps of missing vision and align the two moments in cohesive time, or a distant park foregrounded by a sign presented from varying angles that forces one to reel in brief confusion. Have I already seen this page, am I still progressing in the methodical construct of a book? These are the kind of questions that arise during their experience of 'I Walk Toward The Sun Which Is Always Going Down'.
Time overarches the entirety of this book; fragmented and separated as photography and writing naturally does, belonging to their own space and tempo. This book encourages exploration both through the perspective of the unnamed narrator and our own attempts to deal with its subtle, unexpected deviations. As readers we observe the images and follow from left to right the written word, all the while consumed in this unique pocket of time and space, mutually experienced in reality and simulacrum.
Images courtesy of MACK works