Jason Fulford’s monographs continue to push the limits of what is possible with the photobook, while remaining squarely within the tradition of the book. Last year's& The Mushroom Collector is the most culmination-to-date of his elliptical, intelligent sequencing, but it’s hard to beat his previous book, Raising Frogs for $ $ $, for boldly retro book design. An appendix is available for the now out of print The Mushroom Collector, and now The Ice Plant has published a Cliff’s Notes inspired supplement to Frogs, still in catalog. Notes on Fulford’s Raising Frogs for $ $ $, which can be purchased directly from the publisher, is a slim, spare volume that nonetheless raises substantial questions about art. It shares design and structural elements with traditional Cliff’s Notes but departs from them in essence. It does not provide a synopsis of its source, nor does it really try to explain the work. Which is as it should be.
“The current publication is not meant to supplant any reader’s personal impression or interpretation of Frogs, nor should it in any way substitute for a direct, immersive experience with the pages of the book, preferably over a long period of time, throughout different stages of one’s life.” That last clause can be taken as a sly reference to the stages of frog growth, but it is also something said about works of great literature, particularly Don Quixote, which they say should be read as a young man, in middle age, and then in one’’s golden years. I read it in college and am coming to the age when I better recognize the persistence of delusions, about one’s self and the world; and when I realize that the windmills at which we tilt are merely opur own shadows.