Federal Triangle
Mike Osborne, 2019

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One of TIME Magazine’s best photobooks of 2019, Federal Triangle fuses a documentary approach to photography with the opportunity for alternative interpretations: simultaneously grounded in the real, and suggestive of the darker fantasies that pervade our political landscape. 

The project, titled after a government complex wedged between the Capitol and the White House, is a series of brief encounters with the trappings of power. Men with earpieces gather on corners next to cars bearing diplomatic plates. Black Suburbans idle in the alleys behind Georgetown mansions. Gardeners receive security inspections before entering walled compounds.

Quotidian but intriguing, and sometimes darkly comical, these glimpses into the workings of our democracy gave rise to a range of questions. If I were prone to paranoid projections, what kinds of encounters might activate my darker conspiratorial fears and fantasies? What scenes and situations would evoke the paradoxical feeling of being close to yet far removed from the levers of power?

Federal Triangle engages these kinds of questions in pictorial terms. The photographs are deeply ambiguous: everyday scenes are tinged with the possibility of violence and conspiracy. Withholding more than they reveal, they invite projections that speak to the fear, doubt, dysfunction, and absurdity of our current moment.

In the press:
TIME Best Photobooks of 2019
American Suburb X
Der Greif
Palm* Studios
The New Republic
Wired Japan
The Heavy Collective
Feature Shoot
Musee Magazine

AUTHOR: Mike Osborne
TITLE: Federal Triangle
ISBN: 978-0-9985180-9-1
144 Pages, 70 images
200x285x16mm, 950 grams
EDITION: 750; First edition, first printing

Mike Osborne is a photographer whose work touches on a range of themes including architecture, landscape, history, and technology, ultimately taking the form of books and exhibitions. His photographs are included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Contemporary Austin, and the University of Virginia. Federal Triangle, a project set in Washington, DC, will be published by Gnomic Book in 2019. His work has also appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, Time, the New York Times, and the New Republic. He lives in Austin, Texas.