Jennifer Greenburg’s Rockabillies and the occasional flickering frames amongst a high definition past
Often, when I think of subcultures I tend to veer towards nightlife activity and I think in general the word is quite closely associated with youth and youthful lifestyles.
This is one of the things that makes Jennifer Greenburg’s Rockabillies book interesting: it is a photographic consideration of those who subscribe to a particular subculture and style generally post the first flush of youth, often in domestic settings and with “grown-up” life accoutrements and signifiers.
In Rockabillies kitchen towel sits next to a photograph of Elvis in the kitchen, proud parents hold their child next to their from back-in-the-day automobile, period detail lives picture perfectly amongst family life and the well honed quiffs.
On first glance the photographs seem to present an idealised, seamless recreation of times gone by; it is on closer, second and third inspection that the modern world can be seen through the cracks, the occasional frame flickering briefly amongst the whole film reel.
They are only occasional visitors in these highly curated, high definition selecting from the past homes and lives: the period television stood on an Ikea-esque media stand, the modern television quietly peering out from its new home in a vintage wooden case, a contemporary soft-drink held in the perfectly upholstered and kept interior of a Pink Ladies glamour car interior, a once taboo leg tattoo next to the lovingly kept sofa, a latter day Johnny Cash CD and accompanying player.
Interestingly, although I expect that cars and homes have had something of a brush and scrub up in preparation for the photographs and considering the vintage age of many of the items that can be seen in these homes, there is little sign of day-to-day wear and tear. Again, in contast to much of the more rough’n'tumble of nightlife/subcultural photography, this is a more polished, populuxe-esque, possibly affluent representation of passions and culture.