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Dear Knights and Dark Horses

Thomas Roma | United States

Organization: powerHouse Books

This small, powerful book of photographs pairs children's fantasies of bravery, freedom, and power with the harsh realities of vulnerable, posturing soldiers at the edge of a terrible future.  Dear Knights and Dark Horses (powerHouse Books, 2010) is a call to consciousness about the realities of war and, like a short, sharp poem, a lament for lost dreams. --Susan Kismaric, MoMA NY

Dear Knights and Dark Horses takes us right into the armory as citizen-soldiers of the Army National Guard prepare to deploy to Iraq. Their duffel bags and rucksacks are packed, filled with gear. The vehicles stand ready. And at the same time, coin-operated pony rides wait riderless in Brooklyn, frozen in flight. The ponies exist in a landscape that appears to have grown beyond them--just as the soldiers prepare to leave all they have called home.  This is a subtle, nuanced collection of images that offers us its contemplation. What do we leave behind, as a nation, when we prepare for war? --Brian Turner

The soldiers are Army National Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery Regiment of the 42nd Infantry "Rainbow" Division. Their portraits were made in January 2004 in the Jamaica, New York Armory as they were being mustered for deployment to the Iraq Theater of Operations.

Coin-operated pony rides began appearing in front of 5 and 10's and candy stores across the U.S. in the late 1940's and quickly became part of the retail landscape. They were manufactured as an answer to the post-war baby boom's fascination with westerns and the need to retool after the industrial build-up during WWII.  Sitting unattended collecting coins, they offered children a chance to imagine they were riding Gene Autry's Champion, the Lone Ranger's Silver or Roy Roger's Trigger while granting their often harried mothers a three minute reprieve.  The photographs of the coin horses were made in Brooklyn, New York in 2007 and 2008.

powerHouse Books, Inc.





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