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Morgan Ashcom

Open, Morgan Ashcom

Open, Morgan AshcomOpen
Morgan Ashcom
Gnomic Books
Arabic, English


Softcover in a box
Edition of 750
148 pages
173 x 213 mm
ISBN 9781957301983


Morgan Ashcom began Open while making photographs of daily life in Occupied Palestine in 2009. As Ashcom departed Palestine for his home in the United States, Israeli security forces opened his box of unprocessed film, exposing the images he had made to light. Assuming they were ruined, Ashcom left the mostly unexamined film in his studio for over ten years.

In 2021, Ashcom revisited the negatives and saw new potential in them: the film was not ruined; rather, the tenuously visible images referenced resiliency and vulnerability; censorship and subversion; erasure — and the possibility of its reversal.

Open is a unique object: a box referencing Ashcom’s film box in and of itself, suggesting a paradox: should you open the box, or are you forbidden from doing so? Inside rests a passport-like book containing 34 pictures. Translucent paper overlays and obscures the imagery with code fragments from communications between international financial institutions, Wajdi Yaeesh, and Ashcom, as they attempted to sell c-prints from Open to raise funds for a Palestinian children’s charity.

About the Artist
Morgan Ashcom (b. Charlottesville, 1982) is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the tension between fiction, myth and lived experience in the context of imperialism. Ashcom’s work has been exhibited and published across the globe. He has received numerous awards including German Photobook and the Center for Photography at Woodstock Purchase Prize. His work has been featured in Le Monde, The Brooklyn Rail, Jewish Currents, and The British Journal of Photography. Ashcom is former faculty of Western Connecticut State University, Ithaca College, University of Hartford, Cornell University and the University of Virginia. He is also the Founding Director of Visible Records. He currently lives and works in Charlottesville, VA.

About the Publisher
Gnomic Book is an independent fine art imprint founded in 2016 and based in Portland, OR, with a focus on developing provocative projects in high-quality editions that explore the notion of book as object. Three Gnomic projects have been shortlisted for the Aperture / Paris Photo First Book Awards, and all of our books, present and future, are collected by the MoMA Library.