Author(s): David Shama
David Shama's first monograph Do Not Feed Alligators takes us on an existential journey into the decayed post-capitalist topography of a largely forgotten America- one where he presents youth engaged in achingly commonplace activities. There is an overarching sense in all of these pictures that his subjects are the angel-headed hipsters of a generation that has somehow been left behind, traversing what is left of a tragic, broken landscape-their thousand-yard stares seeking Elysian fields glinting seductively in the setting sun of their minds, far beyond the edge of the world. Shama employs Americana to map a narrative of existence among the flotsam and jetsam of society, where abandoned cars, vacated diners and dive motels act as the leitmotif of a journey into being and nothingness. While there are flashes of naturalistic beauty in the way in which his young muses are caught in the eye of his lens, there is no sentimentality, rather every frame contains a haunted, limbo-esque atmosphere. These figures, we are always aware, count their number among the beautiful and the damned. Ultimately, Do Not Feed Alligators seeks to suggest that we are all on a metaphorical road to nowhere- an apocalyptic landscape of the soul that is both beautiful in its mundane temporality, and boundless in its potential for quietly enticing mythology.