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An interview between David Billet, Ian Kline, and Cole Don Kelley that has been floating between the clouds of the Google Drive and packed away harddrives. It now has a new home on this island.

Buy Rabbit / Hare here

Cole Don Kelley:
How did you two meet each other?

David & Ian:
We grew up down the street from one another in York, Pennsylvania. We knew each other through skateboarding and hanging out at the skatepark towards the end of middle school and into the beginning of high school but weren’t too close. It wasn’t until we were around 16 that we became much closer when we both started to get into photography, both had mid 90’s Honda Civics, and spent the majority of our free time still hanging out at the skatepark and going on small weekend trips. After high school, we both attended PCA&D in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where we lived together for two and a half years before we both decided it was time to transfer schools and ended up going to MICA in Baltimore to finish out undergrad. 



Cole Don Kelley:
What led up to you guys eventually collaborating on the photography project Texas is the Reason?

David & Ian:
So the first school, PCA&D, was really small and didn’t have dorms, you could only live off campus. So we moved into our first apartment together. Because the school was SO small it was just the two of us and our friend Jezebeth Roca Gonzales in our class. There really were only three people, which was so special and we lucked out by overlapping with a few life changing professors. We would go to class and talk about work on such an intimate and intense level and then come back to the apartment and keep those conversations going over whatever cheap beer we could get our 18 year old hands on. We were constantly around each other, consuming all the work we could get our hands on, and were coming into this age together being excited about similar things. All of this intimacy also resulted in us getting into plenty of heated arguments with one another, but that’s still productive even if we wanted to kill each other every other day. That was the start of what would lead to us collaborating on this project.

The project and trip would not have had the same energy and possibilities for intersection if we hadn’t grown up in the same town with surprisingly similar familial backgrounds - both of our mother’s family are from small farms in Spring Grove, two of the men in our lives drove truck, both our parents are seperated, and we lived a few blocks away from each other for the majority of our adolescence. When photography began to click for us, we were (still are) intrigued by the space in which we grew up. York has this weird dichotomy of classes and the landscape changes so rapidly there. Depending on who you talk to or what timeline of documents you look at, York was the first capital of the US or the fourth, either way, you’d think this would somehow ground this place, but it never felt that way, it always felt like this place was constantly in between identities littered with more used car lots than people. Now those car lots are Panera Bread’s half filled with mid size SUV’s. The area we grew up in was largely middle class, blue collar with some shades of baby blue. The men in our family and the general area held their visions and lives to a certain hard edged, emotionally distant masculine stereotype. A stereotype neither of us felt at home in and butted heads with. On I-83 going north out of York there is literally a 15 foot tall ripped man lifting weights spinning in circles at the York Barbell company. This identity made up the environment we were growing up in, so there was always a push and pull with our relationship to this heteronormative lifestyle that made up the majority. It wasn’t US but we couldn’t do too much about it since we were kids and it was really the only thing we knew. It’s interesting, we had been trying to get away from these views and landscape, but because we are working with photography, tied to physical engagement, we are actually becoming closer to it than ever before and are again part of this thing we had been trying to escape. The fuck you, I love you dynamic. York is one of those places where the highschool football teams are sacred (even if they only lose), the jocks are praised and the girls are there to follow, any other type of counter would spark the most violent flames in the communities eyes, even if the jocks were doing much more destructive things or even if the one school districts superintendent got caught keying cars in a highschool parking lot.    

The two of us had collaborated a handful of times before but it was always coming together after images had been made separately, never from beginning concept to shooting together to final prints. Fast forward through transferring schools, moving to a different state together, a very confusing socio-political atmosphere being resurrected and the idea of Texas Is The Reason started coming together right before the start of our final year in undergrad.

Ian:
One night at my grandparents house during dinner, amidst a larger conversation, my uncle, who for as long as I can remember I’ve sat next to at the dinner table at my Grandparents, leaned over to me and out of nowhere said, “I never knew a single cop in Texas”. This statement was so strange and beautiful and felt incredibly relevant. This was the summer of 2016 during what felt to be the height of police shootings and violence happening around the country leading into the election. My uncle, who has an intellectual disability, has always been obsessed with the archetypal American man. He was born in a military hospital on base at Fort Hood in Texas right before my Grandpa was shipped off to Vietnam. He is always wearing a sheriff’s badge (sometimes he has multiple on), talking about his times on a dude ranch, and referencing The Dukes of Hazzard. His thoughts, ideas, and interests embody everything that makes up what I have been told the American man should be and be interested in, but these ideas are also coming from a tilted vision, a tilted vision that I feel I have a kinship with. This was the initial spark for me to begin fleshing out the larger concept for this project. David and I were sitting in our shared studio at the beginning of the school year, I was playing that Misfits song Bullet A LOT, and I loosely brought up this collaborative project idea that I had been thinking about. David wasn’t into it at first. But I had brought it up a few more times as September moved by and eventually David said yes even though I didn’t have a shiny engagement ring.

David:
Growing up, my father was a truck driver, and he had stories about him on the road in Texas. He consistently found himself there and that Texas has been a place he always wanted to be. He liked Texas. For us, we also liked Texas. We loved the Classic Western films we both were around growing up. I think having figured out what it was that we're interested in, only made us more excited about moving forward working together and is really what was the driving force behind it. Ian had initially asked me if I wanted to apply for the grant together, and at first, I actually said no. I thought about it, and it made sense that we both do it together. We would probably apply with similar ideas. A couple of days later, I changed my mind and called him and said yes.



David & Ian:
We also actually just changed the title to Rabbit / Hare for the book that just came out with Deadbeat Club. When we were working on the first exhibition of the work we had a few titles floating around but then it came to the point where we really had to make a decision for a title and went with Texas Is The Reason because it was so obvious and true and yet still gave way for a lot for possible references even though it is such a direct title. The lyrics from Bullet, “Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead // Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head // Texas is the reason that the president's dead” had continued to float in the back of our heads. We stuck with that title for two exhibition iterations of the project but we also weren’t really questioning it for a while and when it came down to finalizing the book, Clint Woodside and a few other people had brought up the idea of changing the title so the work wouldn’t get pigeonholed too easily and because the work is about so much more than Texas, and wasn’t only made in Texas. Texas was the jumping off point to get us on the road and fuel the fires. Texas was the reason. Shortly after we had arrived in Texas, David was talking about something while we were driving and referenced that childhood tortoise and the hare story except he said the rabbit and the hare, and that felt like such a beautiful and important slip. These two animals which are geographically separate, east and west, but represent the same fast moving symbol, they are competing against one another even though they are cut from the same cloth. Rabbit / Hare more directly brought up a range of dualities that bled into and are important to the work and life.






Cole Don Kelley:
So you guys jumped in the car and headed south on grant money from your school.  Were you conscious of a tradition in photography of the road trip through America?  What were you guys thinking about in terms of the past and what had been done?

David & Ian:
Actually one of the few reasons we transferred to MICA over other schools was in hope to get this grant... We hadn’t planned on applying for it together initially but it ended up working out that way.

The past is inescapable and hovers over all of us to one intensity or another. So the history in photography of the American road trip was always with us even if we weren’t directly thinking about it. Leading into the trip we had been spending a lot of time looking and thinking about what has come before us, you know Robert Frank, Walker Evans, the classic guys and then also Victoria Sambunaris, Kristine Potter, and Susan Lipper and how the two of us could possibly carve out a section in this lineage to show our experience together. The two of us came into photography being shown and educated by photographers who go out, engage with the world, and use these fragmented reflections of light to construct something new from the world to share back with the world. Photographers who make you feel like a quiet bystander floating there in these moments, experiencing the chaos and beauty that is unfolding in the composition and presentation. The photographs they make of the places they find themselves feel intimate, cared for, and they aren't just there to take the pictures and run, they are making as part of a community, embracing new connections, even if the connections are fleeting.
It’s not like we wanted to redefine the genre of the American road trip (not that that’s even possible or needed, contrary to those buzz word photo/news blog headlines coming out every week saying how so and so is redefining this and that in a radical way) so we were thinking about what had been done but more in the sense of what had been done is sick, but, we haven’t shown our experience in it together in this heated contemporary moment. Neither of us had fully worked in this road trip way before either. The process of making had always been a bit more slowed down even if the resulting image feels like it was made on the fly. The road offered a way to shake up our processes and experiment.

We had this broad idea to go to Texas for its importance to our understanding of American masculinity, that trickled down to us through our fathers and families relationship to the state, Hollywood’s depiction of Texas, and the state's symbolic and physical importance to politics and the 2016 presidential election. Working on the road best facilitated what we wanted to do and opened up the possibility for chance encounters, the unknown, and for the world to talk with the two of us.

Ian:
So much of the tradition of the American photographic road trip has been romanticised for the solitary nature of the lone photographer roaming the states (even though Frank had taken his family with him at times) and I was so fucking tired of feeling alone and tired of worrying about being alone in the future in some concrete cube and wanted to get out and make work together with my best friend - that was a huge driving force for me even if I didn’t initially verbalize it. Once we were packing the car I really didn't find myself thinking about what had been done though. It was more thinking about David and I on this trip, how absurd and beautiful this all is to have this opportunity to go out into the world and make new pictures today influenced by these varying pieces that have meant a great deal to both of our identities.



Cole Don Kelley:
What does it mean to literally collaborate in photography?  It’s striking how it’s impossible to tell what pictures belong to who. Is it easy to differentiate your pictures outside of this project?  Were you surprised by the results?  Was there fighting over who got to photograph what?

David:
I think for us, we were both in search of the same thing while we were making the images. Ian and I had a similar idea of what we were interested in and what we both wanted. We literally could not have made these images without the other person. As mentioned earlier, I feel as if having such similar backgrounds, we both had this appetite to make sense of it all. Before the trip, we were both working on projects exploring and making sense of our backgrounds. This collaboration in image-making allowed for the two of us to really work together at exploring these ideas together. While we would be on the road shooting, we both had an understanding that the two of us were in this together. There would be moments when I would see something and think, oh, Ian would probably photograph that, and see him go over to it. Ian and I both still shot in our way, which is similar but also very different. However, it is uncanny how similar the photographs are, and I think it's really interesting how we complement one another. It became this thing where we photographically finished each other's sentences. Our images put together made up the bigger story.

Ian:
We couldn't have made these pictures and this body of work without one another, even if only one of our fingers pressed the shutter for each singular picture. That has actually been hard to get across to some people who don’t understand how each photo is credited to the two of us. I think that is what it means to literally collaborate in photography, having two separate physical bodies and visual voices coming together to create something that has never existed before and could not exist with only one person’s hand and sensibilities. That being said, there is no one definition for collaboration in photography. We could have chosen to differentiate our voices and have more of a conversation through photographs which would result in more of an emphasis on the individual, but that wasn’t this project. There’s less, if any, focus on the individual and more on the grouping of images together amidst a collective experience.

I really think because David and I have been so close, both as friends but also as photographers, growing up and learning together at such an important time in our lives, our collaboration felt very intuitive and was fueled by these shared energies. I remember being a freshman and walking around learning to make photos with David, during that time we were both more territorial over who photographed what and if David made a picture of something there was no way in hell I was going to step to the same scene. But with this project I didn’t feel anything like that, granted we had a lot of time growing as people before we hit the road, but there were a couple of times that our eyes would light up at the same thing and there wasn't any tension. Outside of this project I think you can tell a difference between our pictures and projects, but it still can be close because our interests crisscross which then can translate into similar visual experiences.



Cole Don Kelley:
Did y’all have a plan for the pictures or the trip?  Did you freewheel on the road or have a set itinerary?  Did you know what you wanted to photograph?  Based on the pictures there was a lot of exploration, walking the streets, going to events, meeting strangers, etc.

David & Ian:
Picture wise, nope, no idea. Which we were excited about because a good portion of our practices prior to this trip had been working with slower ideas for images, going out and making some variant of those ideas while also engaging with the unknown world then coming back to the studio and reflecting and repeating. But with the nature of our trip being two months on the road then done and the tools we were using, it wasn’t really an option to see what was happening in the photos on the road or sketch shit out in a place we had never been before. It was a really great learning experience because of that fast, unknowing, reactive pace.

We did have a set itinerary. We had to budget and present all the logistical stuff of the trip for the submitted grant proposal: how much each day was going to cost, lodging - camping, shitty motels, or friends couches, daily schedules, how much gas was, places of interest, how much we could spend on food each day, etc. But all of that probably only lasted for the first week? Then we threw it out the window and were figuring it out day by day. Going with our guts each morning, looking at the map on our phones, we just started looking at places that interested us or that had a skate park. If we saw something while driving or felt like we should go one way, we would just make the turn, even if we would have to figure out a new place to sleep. We told ourselves to get lost. Which is romantic and great but it got hectic at times, especially if we were on edge from sleeping on the ground for a month in 99% humidity, eating like 10 year olds, and drinking warm Coors Banquet.

Cole Don Kelley:
What is the strangest thing that happened or strangest thing y’all saw on the trip?

David:
Hmm. There were so many bizarre moments that it's hard to think of just one. But, to name a few, I'd say that eating lunch with the pastor of Cowboys for Jesus was pretty crazy. (They had good mac and cheese) But you know what, they actually had a damn good mac and cheese. What else? Ian pissing himself in Marfa. It all felt like we were in some sort of strange haze. I recall us driving into some random campsite in Louisiana, and seeing this pissed off, wild boar. While I was heading to the showers, the locals at the campsite had warned me of a "loose hog". They said that it had been raising hell at the campsite.

As I come out of the shower, I see the damn thing standing in the middle of the road. The locals are hootin' and hollerin' at the hog. I was hoping I could sneak by the hog on the side, however luck wasn't on my side and it spotted me. I mean, considering my current state of… bright and vivid… choice of dress; hot pink flip flops and bright yellow short swim trunks. I wasn't really doing the best job of blending in. Having taken an interest in me, the boar started to charge straight in my direction. While running I heard, the locals began to laugh and say, "That hog's gonna 'getcha, boy!" The closest thing to get me away from the boar was a Ford F-150. So I flung myself into the back of the bed, in an attempt to escape what felt like sudden death. Eventually, the wild boar made a claim to a new victim- an oncoming car and left me alone in the bed of the pick-up.



Ian:
Maybe a 16 or 17 year old girl being baptized in a horse trough at a cowboy church? Being asked if I needed any female company for the night by a man that was at least 6’8” and had a great smile at a motel next to Vicksburg’s National Military Park? I pissed myself driving in Marfa. I think the strangest thing for me, or most surreal thing that happened was a chain of events when we first arrived in Texas.

After bouncing around the south for three weeks we got into Beaumont, Texas. There wasn't a single person on the streets, all the big city buildings were boarded up, it was seriously a ghost town. We walked around the city for a bit before driving to Port Arthur to pay for a campsite on the beach before the park closed. We searched on Facebook to see if there were any events in Beaumont that night. We didn't think there would be anything because of the whole ghost town thing but we found an amatuar wrestling match that was taking place later. When we got back into Beaumont and were buying our tickets for the match, David explained to the older lady running the ticket table that we were on this trip making photographs, and asked if there was any way we could get closer to the ring. She turned around and motioned for someone to come over. It turns out her son was the one who organized the whole thing. He came over and asked if we wanted to come backstage and hang out with the wrestlers. We got to go back and hang out with the wrestlers before the event started, watching them transform into these hyperreal characters. When the event started we were told we could pretty much go anywhere as long as we didn’t interfere with the match or with the organizations camera people. I remember we were both on opposite corners of the ring, crouched down reloading film and we looked at each other and David had the biggest smile and then a leather jacket was thrown down onto me by one of the wrestlers.

When the event was over we started to head back to the beach where we were camping so we could set up our tents and get to bed. But when we got there the wind was going crazy, sand was blowing everywhere and we didn’t know how far the water was going to come up. So we turned the car to block the wind, I set up my tent and used the car as a shield and David slept in the car, we were both really hoping we wouldn’t get washed away. That was our first day in Texas.



Cole Don Kelley:
What is photography best at for y’all? Tell me what it does and how it makes you feel or even what it looks like at the height of its power.

David:
I think one of the things that photography does for me and does best is creating a constructed view of reality. It acts as a stepping stone that allows you to enter into this constructed space or feeling. I find it so beautiful that something so rooted in fact provides for you, the viewer to go so many places and go beyond what is shown in the image. I think about the pictures, all parts of it create meaning, and these parts of the image that we see are so familiar to us because they are an actual thing. These nuances of color, space, and tones of an object that you can relate to, not an idea of that object. Everything around the object gives context to what is being shown. All of these aspects don't force you to try and automatically feel. With a photograph, you allow yourself to enter the space and work your own way around it. For me, a picture can be an individual experience guided by your private personal associations with the subject or object. This is something so unique to photography because it's this distinct version of someone else's reality.

Ian:
Showing me something in a way I could never see it before, which I guess is very Winograndian. I mean that in both revealing something visually but also emotionally and psychologically. Photography is best at creating these beautifully absurd structures that have one foot in the realm of a document through making photographs in the physical world and the possibility of an archive of a time and place amounting from continued engagement. While the other foot is in a smokier realm, one where these visual marks of light can conjure up varying emotional responses and readings from both the maker and the viewer. It’s kind of like listening to some news podcast then listening to Sleep’s Dopesmoker in its entirety then reading some Flannery O’Connor, then listening to Beach House and falling asleep a quarter of the way through a Tarkovsky film. That might just be me describing a recurring routine I have though... Photography can make me feel weird as fuck and that’s great.

Cole Don Kelley:
Now that you’ve had time to distance yourself from them, what are these pictures saying to you?  Are they of any specific time?  What do they say about the South?  They are easily contextualized; Dealey Plaza can be seen, as can a rebel flag.  What does this mean to y’all if anything at all?



David:
Now that it has been a couple of years since Ian and I have made the images, and also not looking at them every day. One can say we definitely created our own version of this place. These images, in a way, were us trying to make sense of that place we grew up in. We were trying to run away, yet the harder we looked and searched in these new landscapes, and the more we pushed against what we knew. We only found what we knew as home and found these people, places, and things that were so familiar to us. I think back to the photographs, and some of them felt so bizarre and odd at the moment. Looking back at them, I see that many of them are representing something we have experienced in our lives thus far. It is funny how home exists beyond the physical space in which we live, and the ideas we had about that place. And the harder we pushed from it, the closer we found ourselves in something so familiar to what we already knew.

Dealey Plaza, to me, was always something I talked to kids in my high school about. We would spend entire class periods researching this and showing one another close-ups of what we thought was a gun, or maybe it was this person in the background that no one noticed. Having actually been there, this place that I created so many fantasies about in my head felt so surreal. It's something that, for me, is related back to home. My memories of the place exist back to being in high school and sitting in class, yet I'm hundreds of miles away from there. In a way, we sought out finding something so different than what we knew and, in an idea, started to make photographs that had a sense of familiarity. These places and events had a nostalgic feeling of deja vu. It's as if I feel like I've been here; something about the light reminds me of something so specific, yet I don't know what that is because I've never been here. It is as is if I was recreating these memories I have that really only exist within my head. 



Ian:
How almost empty it is, maybe empty is the wrong word. The work for me now feels softly aware as if the stage hand was slowly pulling back the curtains to show the supports that hold the constructed landscape in place. Obviously there are plenty of people and things that fill the images, but maybe that emptiness is revealing itself through how empty the myth of Texas we were fed and the resulting masculine stereotypes are, how I feel about them now.

This slow stage in part has been visually constructed by the tools we were using, bigger cameras and bursts of forced light. But it is never just the photographer's hand that forms the image, there’s something from the world that has had a hand in the resulting images, the world talks back and reveals itself something new, and that unexpected intervention is something wholly unique and beautiful about photography.

I think the pictures are of a specific time and that is now, but this now, our now, has been shaped by the cycles of the past and has a very uncertain, fluctuating dark void that stands for the future which can make the time in the photos confusing and collapse. I’m not sure that they say anything specific or explicit about the South. I don’t think the work says anything explicit in general, that would be so incredibly boring to spell everything out. One would also have to know everything to spell everything out and we certainly don’t. I think the work alludes to certain themes or emotions that stem from a pressure to follow in line with archetypes you don’t feel yourself in. I think there’s inherent coming of age themes and political themes because it was made in the shadow of the 45th president being elected as we were coming out of college and into our “adult” lives. But these only guide the viewer, allowing them to wrestle with their own feelings and associations through these sequences.

I do think there is an underlying violence that found its way into the work, a violence or feeling of violence that is not going away anytime soon outside of the pictures. That’s not even directed just at the South. So many of the places we passed through reminded us of our hometown, and the people reminded us of variations of family or people we knew. Actually in York and the North there is way more outward violence that comes out in the coldness of people and the Trump signs that are still screaming in the suburban yards. On the trip everyone, for the most part, was so welcoming of the two of us and no one really questioned our beliefs or political stance, and was just as curious as we were. But there was a feeling of a suppressed tension beneath the surface in the south that isn’t necessarily easily, neatly, literally described, especially by two people who didn’t grow up there. Those cultural and historical signifiers were important to include to visually locate the project in a larger historical drama. Dealey Plaza (which we kept in for the exhibitions but ended up cutting from the book edit) or the rebel flag or an empty high key landscape from Big Bend help ground the work and keep it from totally floating away into someplace completely alien.




Cole Don Kelley:
Why would anyone photograph in black and white right now?  I had a friend that said black and white is just another button on Photoshop now.  Tell me about why they look the way that they do.  Light crashes through trees, flash illuminates one thing and throws the rest into darkness, your point of view isn’t necessarily predictable etc.

David & Ian
We wanted another way to blend our two voices. By leveling the visuals to only black and white, this took out unproductive chaos with the different ways the two of us handle color. Using black and white had the possibility to tie us to various visual histories of cinema, westerns, photography, The Twilight Zone etc... and provided an opportunity to collapse and confuse the reading of time a bit more than we thought color could for this work. Technically the pictures look the way they do because the way a bigger negative renders space and tones and through an energetic use of flash. One practical reason for us when we decided to make these pictures in black and white was cost. Black and white film was cheaper than color and we could process it for free, so that opened up the budget for other expenses and gave us some room to shoot more freely without having to worry about running out of film or the financial repercussions once we got back.

Ian:
I was talking with a friend right after David and I had finished the first edit of the project, and they were surprised with how it looked, they said they hadn’t thought of how Texas looked at night in darkness. It’s not all at night but there is a large percentage where the background falls off into a void and light, as you said, crashes which allows the world to be viewed in this way that we don’t normally see. Illuminating new things, shielding others, and pitching the viewer into this new space. With everything I just said aside, we hadn’t planned on the images coming out the way they did, so to fully explain why they look the way they do outside of technical shit or initial reference points is impossible and that’s one of the fantastic things about making pictures.

David:
Who cares if it is in black and white or color? This is a big issue with photography for me, people pigeonhole it to oh it has to be black and white, or it has to be color, it has to be film, or it has to be digital. It is annoying that in a way, it has to be one thing or another, free yourself of this mindset of a photographic project having to be made a certain way based on the history of photography. It is limiting. There are so many possibilities in photography. I had a conversation with an old friend the other day. We discussed photography, and they had a limited view of what an image can be and what it is saying because it has to exist within these frame lines that were set by their influences (a bad pun) but photographing in black and white is just as important as shooting in color right now. They both do two completely different things. For us, we are tipping our hats at our influences. We wanted to have that relationship with the history of photography and the road trip and also to the western films we grew up watching. We wanted that to be a relationship that we had with them. We were even thinking about what this place looks like without any color? Like Winogrand, what does this look like as a photograph? With color, there are more associations, and it is costly, and color-correcting all of the films to look the same would have been a nightmare.



Cole Don Kelley:
Tell me about photography that is really blowing your minds right now.  Something from the past and something that was made within the last year.

Ian:
Past - William Gedney. I don’t think I have to explain much, he’s the shit. This past year, shit um I have a very long list but I’m going to go with Buck Ellison. His work is so strange and smart and uncomfortable. I’m gonna go with him also because I don’t think I could ever make pictures like his, I think I have too many Romantic tendencies. Ok fine one more. Lieko Shiga gets me so goddamn excited about pictures and just excited in general. She’s on a higher plane. 

David:
Trent Parke always blew my mind. I have always been a massive fan of his work. I cannot tell you how many times I've watched Dreamlives. In fact, I actually watched it the other day. This past year, Heji Shin's photographs of the crowning infant heads have seriously blown my mind. They're just so beautiful, yet also so alien. They make me feel so uncomfortable  - they are genuinely terrifying photographs, but I love that about them. I feel inspired by all of my friends' work. It makes me feel motivated and so stoked for them. I love y'all.

Cole Don Kelley:
What’s next for y’all?

Ian:
April 2020: We just finished up the book with Deadbeat Club and that is now available for pre-order and should be in the states in a few weeks. It was supposed to launch at the LA Art Book Fair but then ALL the shit decided to hit the fan, so we’re trying to figure something out to physically launch it once we are allowed to go outside and hug people. I can’t wait to finally get this out. And I just found out a few weeks ago I got accepted to Yale for grad school, so as long as the world is still somewhat intact I’ll be moving to New Haven and starting that in the fall, but everything keeps changing every fucking hour and it is becoming increasingly uncertain what even tomorrow will look like.

April 2021: I just got my second vaccination shot, my arm hurts, and am in New Haven finishing my first year of Zoom grad school, trying to keep it together for finals which are in two and a half weeks... I’m also trying to figure out what I’m doing this summer and how to do it. But right now I’m planning a trip through the north of the country out west, kinda the opposite of what David and I did. So if there’s anyone with money reading this, holler at me, I need film and gas.   


David:
April 2020: I am trying to figure that out. I'm writing this while self-isolating in Pennsylvania during this COVID-19 chaos. My 69-year-old father is currently playing call of duty in the living room. There are explosions and gunshots going off at all hours of the day. However, the book with Dead Beat Club, Rabbit / Hare, is available for pre-order now, and I'm fucking excited for everyone to see it, it is beautiful.

April 2021: I’m am going to sit at the beach and figure that one out.



About These Guys

Cole Don Kelley is an artist born and raised in Paris, Texas.  He graduated from the Yale School of Art and is currently working as a Park Ranger for Acadia National Park.  

David Billet (b. 1995, York PA) is an American photographer currently living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Billet received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017. David received the Meyer Photography Traveling Fellowship to work on a collaborative project with Ian Kline in 2017. He has had two-person exhibitions at Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD, 2018) and The Java Project (Brooklyn, NY, 2018) and The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (Farmville, VA, 2021). In 2020 Deadbeat Club published Rabbit / Hare the collaborative work of David and Ian Kline. David’s work has also been published by Office Magazine, The Fader, Baxter Street Camera Club of New York, The Heavy Collective, and Der Greif.


Ian Kline is a photographer currently living in New Haven, CT where he is a first year MFA candidate at Yale University. Born in 1994 in York, Pennsylvania, Kline received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017. Ian has had solo exhibitions at Skylab Gallery (Columbus, OH, 2016), Space Place (Nizhniy Tagil, Russia, 2018), and Silver Eye Center for Photography (Pittsburgh, PA, 2019). He has had two-person exhibitions at Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD, 2018), The Java Project (Brooklyn, NY, 2018), and The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (Farmville, VA, 2021). In 2017 Ian received the Meyer Photography Traveling Fellowship to work on a collaborative project with David Billet. He has self-published five artists’ books, in 2019 Quiet Pages Press published a limited edition artist book Echo (Dad’s Basement), and in 2020 Deadbeat Club Press published Rabbit / Hare.