In 2019, nominee member of Magnum Photos, Gregory Halpern published his fifth book "Omaha Sketchbook". This book revealed his impressions of the American masculinity that he had searched out during travels to Omaha, Nebraska, through a period of 15 years.
In this book, Gregory Halpern stays close to the highly-saturated color representation for which his photography has become known. Here, he also includes a handful of shots that are lightly overexposed and backlit. Halpern’s preferred filmstock is Fuji NPH400, a film that emphasizes the color in its reproduction. The change in color brightness and saturation between different shots form a short, tight rhythm, like a light novel that brings the reader a relaxing experience.
At the same time, "Ohama Sketchbook" is not only documentary but delivers a surreal sense of time travel as boys become men. From uniformed Boy Scouts that grow to become sweaty young adults, this 15-year project presents the viewer with images that are both timeless and fluid. Halpern captures a series of small, unobtrusive details and moments in which American childhood and upbringing form the core construct of "Ohama Sketchbook", its portrait of masculinity.
When asked how this visual cohesion was achieved, Halpern observed that "The most respectful and interesting thing a photographer can do is simply observe and honor a person’s complexities and contradictions."