3/19/15 2:36 PM
Michael Coleman, a photographer and designer of album covers, has an eye for two different kinds of irony. The first might be termed found irony and is captured with concise wit and head-on framing in pictures of an abandoned swimming pool at the Joy Motel, a banner outside Paradise announcing New Management (it’s a strip club), and a sunny pueblo mural behind a rusty steel fence. The second we’ll call ironic beauty, and Coleman spots it just a little ways down the southwest highways where found irony appears: the rusted, shot-up cab of a truck, its crushed roof aligning perfectly with one-point perspective; the long glowing slope of a pink neon wall decoration, magic hour sky bisected above; the layering of an asphalt horizon with alternate horizons comprised of gas station flags, a row of pothole covers, grassy fields and distant mountains. Which category of irony causes more pain, which more pleasure, depends on the individual viewer.