New York

Jim Alinder

The Once Gallery

Again technique predominates in Jim Alinder’s photographs. Alinder uses a special camera to capture a panoramic view rushing into a curve of perspective on either side of the focal point. Perhaps because this device is repeated in every photograph it begins to lose its impact. However, often the subject matter does coincide with the distortion of the lens. The photos monumentalize commercial landmarks which pockmark the U.S. The gigantic “Modess . . . because” sign which zooms along the New Jersey Turnpike. Santa and his reindeer riding above an endless supermarket display of packaged frozen food curving out of sight. A “Steak ’n Shake” drive-in lit up at night, filling the view like the mirage of an oasis. Implies social criticism? But in each of the photos, Alinder’s wife and/or children appear. A family album documenting places visited and to be remembered? However, the photos are not portraits. The figures seem anonymous, convenient human markers who provide a scale for the site. And yet perhaps there is a narrative. In the juxtaposition of the icons we choose for our culture and the people who are minimalized before them.

Susan Heinemann