Pitchfork reported yesterday that famed rock & roll photographer Autumn de Wilde will release a bound collection featuring 200 images of the indie kings, Death Cab for Cutie. Wilde has released such tomes in the past--including a book chronicling the introspective, creative moments of late folkie Elliott Smith.
Death Cab for Cutie is a super-talented band out of Washington whose songs about life, love and death are filled with trenchant insight into the human condition and full of overwhelming emotional sentiment.
Witness the song "I Will follow you Into the Dark," which features a sweetly strummed acoustic guitar and singer Ben Gibbard's thin warble delivering lyrics about two people's love in the face of their inevitable demise. Excuse me while I grab a hanky.
That said, these four chaps: Ben Gibbard, Chris Walla, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr are among the more unattractive artists in music today. Gibbard makes for a particularly aesthetically uninspired frontman with his dark glasses, round, pudgy face and thin lips. This scores points for his wife, stunning starlet Zooey Deschanel, for appreciating Gibbard's inner beauty.
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Begging the question: Why should fans spend money on a book of photos about a uber sensitive band not known for wild antics on stage or off, especially when there's nothing remarkable about their look to begin with? I'm willing to bet we won't have images of Ben Gibbard driving a Harley down the hallway of some hotel, or any sort of unusual sex act involving a dead fish.
Granted, de Wilde's photos are breathtaking. The lady understands lighting and composition as well as any iconic lenser of the past 50 years. In fact, I own the book she dedicated to Elliott Smith, and I love it. The difference of course is that Smith was a bubbling cauldron of emotional dysfunction. So much in fact that it's believed he killed himself by plunging a knife into his chest. What it is about such tragedies that captures the imagination is probably too complex to elaborate here, but it makes for compelling picture-page flipping.
The point is, as much as I like DCFC, I have no interest in spending 30 minutes staring at images of these relatively tame rock stars mugging for a camera or covering their faces with their hands. And lest you think I'm being overly snarky and mean when I rip Ben Gibbard's looks, keep in mind, I've been told I bear more than a passing resemblance to him.
When it all goes down:
Autumn de Wilde's book is slated for release Nov. 17.