Roe Ethridge’s latest publication Shelter Island marks the third collaboration between the American artist – born in Miami in 1969 and currently living in New York – and the London-based publisher Mack, following his monographs Le Luxe (2011) and Sacrifice Your Body (2014).
Ethridge’s work is characterized by a distinctive use and crossing of traditional photographic genres – such as portraiture, still life, fashion and landscape –, and the incorporation of commercial photography and snapshots into his artistic research.
The soft-covered, light book Shelter Island is the result of Ethridge’s exploration of the American Kit house at the eastern end of Long Island, New York, where he used to spend the holidays with his family. Turning towards the past history of the place, he collected and photographed the discarded objects he found in the home’s garage, which belonged to the homeowner and their children before they moved out.
Starting from a poetic, nostalgic narration of faraway childhood summers, Ethridge ends up composing a multifaceted portrait of American traditions, where melancholic portraits are combined with stacked Coca-Cola bottles, colorful kites plunged into water, a boy wearing a baseball hat, as well as iPhone schreenshots taken by his daughter and an image of Pamela Anderson eating grapes. His seemingly linear narration is thus turned into a layered and intriguing collection of American symbols and individual affections.