The Last Good Kiss (Fire), Standard Edition
by MATT SLABY
From the Photographer:
In the poem, ‘Degrees of Gray in Phillipsburg’, Richard Hugo gives an account of a small mountain town in western Montana, lamenting that the heyday of the copper boom has passed. The narrator’s jagged description of Phillipsburg cracks off in stanzas that show him to be as broken as the place that he writes about. In the end the man, like the town, is left pining for the kiss of a lover long gone.
Hugo, a staple of western poetry and an alcoholic of the highest order, was well known for seeing the empty half of the glass. His literature is marked with a soft tragedy born from the imagination of a man who lived his life in the quiet shadows of America’s frontier states. The cadence of his work, beautiful and bleak, is jarring, mechanical, and direct; it reminds the reader of the natural forces that shaped the west and the powerful will of a nation bent on the idea of Manifest Destiny. Accordingly, the west has always been a work in progress, an idea that has served to capture the imagination with the promise of things to come.
Viewed through this lens, the west is not really a place at all; it is a string of ideas connecting people to the place they live. Through these ideas, one is afforded the opportunity to capture the moments where myth meets reality. It is at this point that I believe one can see the intersection of the ephemeral idea of the west and the fantastic, improbable, and beautiful things that are born from it. Looked at from the this perspective, Hugo’s ‘last good kiss’ is not the sad memory of a lover departed, but the uplifting and familiar embrace of a living and lifelong partner whose last kiss has yet to come.
These images represent a work in progress, a visual lovesong to my home in the West and the people and places that make it real.
<About the Prints:
Standard Edition Prints from LUCEO are printed on archival quality Epson Ultra Premium Luster Paper with premium K3 inks. Prints offer rich color, realistic tonal reproduction, with intense blacks and enhanced details from highlight to shadow. Prints are offered in three sizes and are printed on paper exceeding the crop size of the image for ease in matting and framing.
Prints are delivered authenticated with a LUCEO Standard Edition Print stamp and unsigned and uneditioned.