Baden: Kodoji, 2021.
480 pp , 836 images. 17 × 24 cm with printed mylar jacket with flaps.
The Last Survivor is the First Suspect is at once a celebration and a requiem. The project, captured between 2005 and 2009 by photographer Nick Haymes, is a record of a drifting community of young friends based mainly between two distinct geographic points: Southern California and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The book's narrative merges a sense of joy in documenting burgeoning friendships and bonds, and a looming sense of dread that would ultimately culminate in a series of tragedies. Weaving throughout the book's intimate photographs are a series of digital screenshots which Haymes has identified as key to this moment in time, which offer the viewer a secondary narrative of engagement. Social media was still relatively young and Haymes became acutely aware of a new nodal sense of communication between these distinct groups of friends. Platforms such as MySpace, YouTube and online message boards engendered a sense of community by enabling connection, while also setting new and impossible standards and expectations. Diligently collected, these various forms of communication between the characters frame a foreboding that grows as the pages turn. Haymes dots the pages with references to live geotags and URL addresses that allow the curious viewer to dig deeper into the book’s subjective truths. Item #21500