Raw and edgy, random and yet real. Phonebook collects fragments of text messages and cell phone images, each of which have their own fascinating story to tell. Pieced together, they offer a captivating insight in to the life of CB Smith. He is an established photographer, and yet these pictures were never intended for publication. They were never planned; no poses, no lighting, no makeup.
When people ask how the book came into being, CB Smith’s answer is simple: “I never set out to make a photo book about my own mad exploits shot entirely with a cell phone. It wasn’t really until I started reading back the text messages and looking at the pictures that I realized there might be a book here. What’s a cell phone anyway these days? In my opinion, it’s a personal device designed to capture and communicate, to preserve things that just happen, and in my case, that inevitably leads to sex, drugs, rock and roll, architecture, and flowers…To put Phonebook in context, it all began after a calamitous breakup, when my life was thrown into a fragmented mess. This leads to the proverbial “lost weekend” … A two-year descent into debauchery and adventure. I know Phonebook might not be for everyone, but this was my life, take it or leave it.”
Although Smith is a professional photographer who knows the medium, it is obvious that this is not a typical photography book. The improvised shots that were taken without any premeditation are accompanied by small texts that offer just enough context to pique your curiosity, and tell an unintentional story. Phonebook represents the fusion of technology and “virtual memory” with human recollection, thus providing a new and unique account of life in the new millennium.