Seth Lower notices odd arrangements of random things out in the world. Over the years, he’s made photographs of these strange things that catch his eye, and he’s selected about 80 images for his new book, Units, published by MACK in 2019.
It’s a slender volume, with spare design, lots of white space, and snapshot-size images. It’s like looking through someone’s private stash of oddball pictures collected over the years. The book feels “quiet” at first glance, but then its complex harmonies swell up, revealing unexpected visual music.
The images begin to echo each other in unusual ways, creating rhythms of sets, subsets and repetitions. Random categories emerge, and these, in turn imply other tenuous connections. As you turn the pages, a quirky logic begins to assert itself, making you pause at each photo, look more closely, recognizing the fleeting patterns in each frame.
These are strange images, wry, puzzle-like. More than an aesthetic approach, Lower promotes a way of seeing things that might be otherwise overlooked. It’s a celebration (of sorts) of awkward arrangements, the haphazard, unplanned (or too quickly executed) DIY jobs, sloppy shortcuts and random fluctuations found in the everyday world.
After spending some time with this book, you may find yourself seeing your surroundings with energized eyes, and smiling.