Gina Publishes First Photography Book
Border Run: Photographs by Gina Hyams, foreword by Amy Wilentz (Muddy Puppy Media, hardcover, 9″ x 12″, 88 pages, signed limited edition of 100, 2021). Price US$50 + shipping. SOLD OUT.
In this understated and brilliant photographic essay, Gina Hyams captures both the emptiness of the pandemic and its global power. Border Run is not a collection of photojournalists’ work where each picture tells its own single narrative pandemic story. Rather, it is a series of deceptively simple snapshots that capture the repetitive beauties of the road and of the journey from an unprotected Mexican town to the vaccination centers of Laredo, Texas. While we travel this long, hot road, an underlying unstated commentary follows us, elucidating the stark and unavoidable problem of global inequality.
Border Run is not about easily digestible human-interest pandemic stories with beginnings and ends. Instead, with the headlong haste and brutal directedness of an illicit caper, the book captures a pilgrimage of inoculation between two cities—and two countries. Those who have a car and the time, and can afford gas, can travel 22 hours twice to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but they leave the rest behind. Out the passenger window, the hasty, honest camera opens its eye on the unchanging blue Western sky, beneath which the absence of men and women and the glory of small, bright cantinas and gas stations reminds us that this plague has emptied a world. Yet the lonely asphalt spools out a tale of old connection, as we travel with driver and photographer from south to north and then back again. Border Run is lonely and bright, and the fact that all this mileage finally brought immunity to two Americans in a car only reminds us of all the others around the globe who have no such protection.
–Amy Wilentz, author of Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti, and other books
Spring 2021. My husband and I drove 44 hours to get COVID-19 vaccinations in Texas—making the roundtrip journey from San Miguel de Allende to Laredo twice. I photographed these roadside scenes out the car window with my iPhone while speeding along Highway 57 to and from the border in the states of San Luis Potosí and Coahuila. (Dave did the driving.)
The poignant emptiness of the landscape, humble buildings, and life-affirming pops of bright color moved me. Coming out of a year of pandemic isolation, the repetitive scenery resonated with my interior emotional state. I was also drawn to the humanity of the hand-lettered signs, which contrasted sharply with the corporate logos that dominated strip mall after strip mall north of the border.
Years ago, I heard a therapist say, “If you’re bored, you’re not paying attention.” While staying home to avoid the virus, I tried to make meaning from that wisdom. I spent the pandemic making a series of photographic “morning compositions” that framed my domestic landscape in new ways—viewing it through a phone camera lens as shapes, lines, layers, textures, and color fields, endeavoring to deeply see and appreciate it.
On the road, I continued photographing with this intent—creatively engaging with the landscape, attempting to distill and reveal it and, in the process, create a portrait of a fraught moment in a timeless place.
Gina and her husband collaborate for the first time in 31 years!
Gina’s photographs are featured in DJ Barrett’s THE BOOK OF 32, a deluxe limited-edition art book inspired by a visit to Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO) in Oaxaca City. See Dave’s website linked above for details.
“The Healing Blanket”
Gina contributed a quilt block to “Patchwork: Healing Blanket/La Manta de Curación,” a collectively created quilt like the AIDS Quilt, which was displayed on January 26, 2020 at Mexico City’s Zócalo to protest violence against women, children, and the earth. The project then traveled as a virtual exhibit to the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) based in Venice, California.
Hyperallergic article by Elisa Wouk Almino:
A “Healing Blanket” Against Gender Violence, Created by 600 Women Around the World
About Gina’s piece:
I made “In Life and Death United” in October of 2019 during the season of Day of the Dead. I view it as offering for my ancestors who suffered domestic violence. My intention is that their memory, joined with all of the voices in this quilt, bring healing and change. The center image is a detail of my great grandmother’s gravestone. The fabrics feature prints of flowers, fruit, and chocolate–sweet treats for their spirits.
La Jornada article by Carlos Paul about the project: En La manta de curación se
teje la realidad que viven y padecen todos los días las mujeres
Gina’s Article About Mexican Jell-O
Gina threatened to write about Mexican Jell-O for years and years and is grateful to Eat Mexico Culinary Tours for the opportunity to finally do so. Here’s the link to her article and photos: The Joy of Mexican Gelatina
Gina’s First Solo Photography Exhibition
The Tanglewood Picnic was named a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards “Cookbooks: Regional” category and won both a Graphic Design USA 2015 Book Design Award and 2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for USA Printing.
Recent(ish) Media Coverage
The Tanglewood Picnic was featured in the Albany Times Union, Berkshire Eagle, Berkshire Edge, Berkshire Family Focus, Berkshire Food + Travel, Berkshire HomeStyle, Berkshire on Stage, Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Record, Berkshire Style, Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Fresh American by Annie Selke, iBerkshires, MassLive, Metroland, Norfolk Now, The Picnic Site, Rural Intelligence, Springfield Republican, Rogovoy Report, Take Magazine, Taste Berkshires, WAMC, Wandering Educators, Westfield News Arts Beat, WHDD, WQRX, WVOX, and Yankee Magazine. Below are some excerpts from the rave reviews, along with a few links to articles.
“Wonderful…a delightful read for both newbies and seasoned Tanglewood pros, the book details 80 years of picnicking tradition with vintage photos, personal stories, and tasty recipes.”–Yankee Magazine
“It’s one of those books that years from now will still be circulating, waiting to be pulled off the shelf in a Berkshire cottage or New York City apartment, sniffed for that good book smell, and opened to remember summer. The book hails not just a picnicking tradition, but the way in which the world stops for music. All that love and beauty makes for a civilized time, and that makes life an art. —The Berkshire Edge
“We encounter the famous, along with the followers over more than 80 years, couples celebrating summer and music then and now, children, perhaps too early to settle in for Mozart, frolicking, church groups and old college chums gathering for annual reunions, allowed by Hyams, a fine writer, to tell their stories in their own words. Photographs – ranging from the expansive panoramic spreads one would expect, to intimate glimpses of precious family moments arrived from official sources at Tanglewood, The Berkshire Eagle and other publications, and from individuals who came forward to Hyams’ many invitations and exhortations for illustrations, representing both the early camera era and modern times when the iPhone is Photo king. The Tanglewood Picnic decidedly is not a coffee-table book. At six inches high and eight inches wide, hardbound, it is at once elegant and solid, much like the Tanglewood Picnic.” –Berkshire HomeStyle
“Tanglewood: The ultimate picnic-in-the-park destination” in the Boston Globe
“‘The Tanglewood Picnic’ Launches As Tanglewood’s Season Starts” (party photos) on Rural Intelligence
“Berkshire author Gina Hyams packs nostalgia, classic recipes in ‘The Tanglewood Picnic'” on MassLive.com
The New York Times
Gina’s tribute to her mother was published in The New York Times Magazine’s “The Lives They Loved” series.