Eric Renner
"American Disguise"
Eric Renner
Flying Monkey Press
277 pages. Signed copy. Eight years in preparation, American Disguise is a coffee table sized book that explains the visual roots and early 20th century's evolution of racism, sexism and nationalism. The book is a treasury of rare media imagery and a rare look at the artist's inner thoughts. Text edited by Karla Eoff, (Susan Sontag's editor). Beautifully printed in China, on highest quality Korean paper. 459 images (322 in color and 137 in black and white) 183 images by the author are pinhole photographs of carnival chalk prizes using Polaroid 809.

American Disguise as reviewed by Judy Natal, Professor of Photography:
"We’ve known Renner’s passion for many years has been pinhole photography. Pinhole Journal, published in collaboration with his wife photographer Nancy Spencer, made a significant contribution to the photographic field. His other passion of collecting and photographing mass-produced carnival chalk prizes in the form of dolls that represent famous and infamous people, we didn’t know about until now. American Disguise is a fascinating, richly layered, and quirky compendium of 183 color pinhole photographs made by the author of his collection, with an additional 276 images in black and white and color photographs as supportive material that is drawn from a wealth of sources. Renner’s belief that these figures were used as propaganda to promote stereotypes of racism, sexism, and nationalism, throughout the United States between 1920-1960, is intriguing and nuanced. Chronologically presenting each media figure, he carefully constructs a context that dismantles the subtle messages embedded within each statue. Villains, beloved cartoon figures, and celebrities are represented, but all are iconic. Renner writes an informative introduction and extensive notes, an index and image credits. A must read for anyone interested in how images construct meaning and impact culture."

Doug Frank, pinhole photographer writes:
"Thank you for your fascinating new book. I guess that I was expecting a group of well seen images along with an essay, but what you have accomplished is SO much more than that. It must have been an amazng labor to have finally brought these perceptions into book form. I can only imagine some of the hurdles and heartily congratulate you on your fine effort! I am reading a section at a time and then re-reading some. There is so much to digest. I have it out in my studio all the time. I find it inspiring."

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