Hanna Quevedo’s Dessert First! isn’t a book in a traditional sense. Its simple binding — an elastic band across the spine of folded papers — makes it more of an album, or a collection of photographs. Hanna’s publication clearly stands apart from everything else occupying my bookshelf. Those loosely-bound leaves are an adventure into the strange world of tattoos, trashy clothing and dwellings, peculiar situations, as well as the wonderful faces that bring life to the sidewalks and sand dunes of North America.
A photographer from San Francisco, Hanna took her film cameras across North America on her numerous advantures over nine years between 2007 and 2016. The images in Desert First! are her stories. As she puts it:
The work in this book reflects a series of discoveries and adventures from that time. There are so many stories I could tell you about each image, but I’d rather leave space for you to view these images and imagine their stories on your own.
Though I found the binding somewhat distracting as I struggled to keep the pages together, its bagatelle appeal is non the less fitting the subject of Hanna’s work.
The honest and unusual portraits, sprinkled with a healthy doze of cruddy (in the best sense of the word) sheek remind me of Anil Mistry’s City by the Sea that explores the unusual personas and their lives in Brighton, UK.
Though it did not take long to get through the book, I closed it feeling that I’ve learned something new about the human condition.
Desert First! is currently sold in USA and Canada on Burn Barrel Press website for $30.