Author(s): Gerald Jenkins
Its After the End of the World is a “picture novel study of the human spirit in the fantastic/magical and the human soul in the metaphorical and physical in Five Chapters – being Oppression, Rainbows, Mythology, Cosmology, Salvation”, the book presents Jenkins’s fine art photography alongside poems and quotes by Sun Ra, lyrics by KAINTHEPOET aka Gylan Kain of The Last Poets, and essays by Wire contributor Michael Gonzales, singer Little Annie, US author and artist Darius James, US actor, writer/director Jake-Ann Jones, and others.
Photographer Gerald Jenkins has long identified as an outsider, and his vast oeuvre spanning nearly four decades reflects his natural affiliation with others who sit similarly at the fringes. His photographic subjects bring their own powerful identities to bear on his work, and Jenkins’ ever-evolving artistic process reflects their varied contributions to his ongoing study of the tension between Western capitalism and ancient spirituality. Incorporating traditional craftsmanship into a nontraditional methodology, he manufactures his own imaginative props for shoots—seashell headphones, moon-shaped facemasks, disco-ball helmets—hand-crafts unique frames, and appropriates imagery from his own extensive archive to create complex, multilayered collages reflecting a worldview at once conspiratorially cynical and profoundly hopeful. With visual overtones of Sam Haskins’ picture novels, these artworks synthesize Jenkins’ many years photographing for fashion magazines and cinema, his documentation of Australian Indigenous Culture, and his ongoing relationship as photographer and friend with the members of Sun Ra’s Arkestra, whose philosophies and corresponding aesthetics gave him the creative entry point he had been seeking to contemplate what indeed comes after the end of the world as we know it.