Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
Rudy VanderLans’ Supermarket presents the California landscape as a vacant domain. This photographic collection is more of an environmental documentary than a design novel. You will not be wowed by typographic gestures nor need a double take to absorb the Photoshop trickery and ultra-flat vector-art chaos. But you will slowly turn pages, digesting VanderLans’ chronicles and considering the environment through his eyes.

With the exception of VanderLans’ own voice set in Solex and excerpts from John C. Van Dyke’s The Desert, you will not witness another human being. While VanderLans’ shadow lingers within the frames of his pictures—akin to Friedlander leaving behind his dark silhouettes—the book paints a somber portrait of the writer’s journey. In the desert, I sympathize most with this traveler. We look at Joshua trees and yuka plants that rest motionless. Vacant homes remain from the 20th century’s Homestead Act. All of these images rest frozen so we may consider the author’s journey, and sometimes compare notes across time he’s logged.

Like VanderLans, most designers have a passion for books. The difference is that he’s met the lofty ambition of writing, designing, and publishing head on. Supermarket is not a testament to his work, oeuvre, or aesthetic bias. It’s a testament of his love for books and willingness to manifest his passion. Since 1981, VanderLans has documented the California environment using photography. In Supermarket, he shares what he has seen, inviting the reader to partake of his trek.

What surprised me most was the absence of typography in these photographs. From a man that dedicated time and energy to promoting fresh and exciting typefaces through Emigre, the landscape of Southern California mostly fills the book. Occasionally you’ll catch distressed typography, signs and signposts, or logotypes. When you do, these elements ground the book, even delivering us from the absent and arid desert where the journey began. Amid the organic landscape, lush golf courses, and sporadic cityscapes, Supermarket proves that California contains life. A life that grows green, gets dusty, and shares both space and time with singular spans of concrete known as interstates. VanderLans paints it all using poetic photography, self-conscious documentation, and love for the art of the book.

Book Information
Supermarket by Rudy VanderLans
176 pages, Hardcover, 8 3/4” x 11 3/4” (297 x 225 mm)
250 color illustrations, English
Publisher: Ginko Press
ISBN: 1584230800
Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Sep.18.2004 BY Jason A. Tselentis
Bradley’s comment is:

this is a little off topic, but has anyone received emigre 67 yet? i am waiting for amazon to get some b/c shipping from emigre.com is very pricy... but so for nada.



On Sep.23.2004 at 06:37 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

VanderLans loves the place he lives in and makes something of it. That's about as admirable as it gets. There's also an absence of the typical designer's fastideous contrivance of images in his books. These are more like a dream sequence in which the ordinary becomes extraordinary. I own "Palm Desert" and when I come across it occasionally in my shifting pile of books it always refreshes my memories of California.

On Sep.23.2004 at 07:17 PM