by Bill Hayden
4.75 x 6 inches, 180 pages, color
Edition of 100
The photos in Coconuts assemble into a laconic typology of the oft-exoticised palm tree. Hayden’s hair-in-the-breeze photographic approach posits this tropical form’s subjection to the rigorously familiarized cultural abstractions of Corona’s chillwave advertisements, Sandals’ family-friendly colonialism or Hedonism II’s keg-stands in the sand. When displaced from such marketed contexts — and no longer soundtracked to Jack Johnson or Neon Indian — the hungover reality of these trees comes into focus. Sharply contrasting the vectorized front cover and its bejeweled back, these au naturel images often fall short of their advertised expectations. Yet this isn’t quite tropical malaise or a journalistic account of Montezuma’s revenge. Rather, throughout Hayden’s photographs, one detects a lackadaisical ambling that repeatedly seeks to find the care-free life that these trees have come to advertise. Tourist snaps? Travel essay? Location scouting? With these photos one is left to wonder, is Hayden searching for miracles or is it simply the beer?