A window into the work of 12 emerging photographers

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On Pomegranate Press’ fifth anniversary, the independent publishing house releases Under a Blanket of Stars — a new publication showcasing the work of several collaborators

Since its conception in 2015, “under a blanket of stars” has been Pomegranate Press‘ informal slogan: a lyrical phrase connotating hope and transcendence. “I have always found Pomegranate to have this dreamy and utopian quality to it,” reflects Jesse Feinman, a co-founder of the Richmond, Virginia, based, publishing house, whose newest photobook, released under this ‘slogan’, brings together several collaborators’ work. Under a Blanket of Stars marks Pomegranate Press’ fifth anniversary and embodies the experimental aesthetic it has championed since it began.

The publication features 12 emerging photographers, including Molly Matalon, Caroline Tompkins, and Melissa Alcena. Their work is distinct, but abstraction and surreality unite it: obscure angles, bold colours, electric light and shadow, weaving through the pages. Landscapes, portraits, still-lives melt into one another. Small details connect them: colours blending from one image to the next, golden light dancing across the pages, elements echoed in adjacent photographs — a woman’s white-blonde hair, then a silver sunshade bathed in scorching light; deep blue sea and sky, then the turquoise of a sunroof. “Despite the artists being so diverse in style and aesthetic, there are some subtle details, which magically, inexplicably tie Under a Blanket of Stars together,” Feinman observes.

Feinman conceived Pomegranate Press as a platform through which he could collaborate with friends. “The idea of working with a stranger and completely messing it up was terrifying to me, and it still is, to be honest,” he says, “but, it was also in part, because the books would feel more honest, more fun, what have you”.

Under a Blanket of Stars provided an opportunity to collaborate with close friends — Dino Kužnik, Mark Sommerfeld, Jack Bool, Molly Matalon, and Alexander Rotondo — but also a chance to work with new acquaintances — all of who feature in the publication. “It’s really hard to say what the artists in Under a Blanket of Stars collectively represent,” he continues,” but they are all challenging many of the conventions of what it means to be a photographer in the 21st century — I’m just lucky to be there to watch it unfold.”

Under a Blanket of Stars is available via Pomegranate Press here.

Hannah Abel-Hirsch

Hannah Abel-Hirsch joined British Journal of Photography in 2017, where she is currently Assistant Editor. Previously, she was an Editorial Assistant at Magnum Photos, and a Studio Assistant for Susan Meiselas and Mary Ellen Mark in New York. Before which, she completed a BA in History of Art at University College London. Her words have also appeared on Magnum Photos, 1000 Words, and in the Royal Academy of Arts magazine.