What have skateboarding and Vermeer got in common? Jerry Hsu, that's what.
Former pro skateboarder Hsu has, in recent years, moved from kickflips to shooting from the hips. Using a simple phone to snap his pics on, he's made quite a name for himself through witty, succinct snapshots of people, places, objects and of course, skate culture.
San Jose-based Hsu’s street photography has now been gathered into a book published by Anthology Editions on 21 May, The Beautiful Flower is the World. The book takes its title from a photo of a t-shirt Hsu found and documented. According to the photographer, his images aim to “transcend the limitations of a terrible phone camera."
According to the publisher, eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot references to art history "trickle their way into portraits with ‘Vermeer-esque’ shapes against suburban backdrops, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa emblazoned across dresses and kitsch Jesus statues appearing in unlikely places."
Anthology Editions adds: "A fascination with language and typography also permeates throughout, collecting graffiti scribbles, polemic religious slogans and thrown away posters."
Underscoring the cooler-than-thou ironic detachment of the whole thing is a foreword by Jesse Pearson, former editor in chief of Vice magazine. “...it’s true, god, ugh, the world really is like this. Beautiful and sad and so funny. Thanks for reminding us, Jerry," he writes.
The Beautiful Flower is the World is published on 21 May.