Since 2010 writer Keith Tuma and artist Billy Simms have been exploring the use of text and image to create a contemporary travel blog. Several episodes are online: www.proxyholidays.com. Billy travels and takes pictures. Keith stays at home and writes the text that accompanies the images with limited (or no) information other than what experience and observation permit concerning the subject or intention of the photographs. This then allows not only
for “critical” distance on the photographs as photographs but also for a range of projections and agendas to be self-consciously visited upon them. The text makes characters of both “Billy” the photographer and “Keith” the annotator and critic in a deadpan if also occasionally wistful prose with designs on the conventions of travel photography and art commentary. This is to say that it can be satirical (which does not mean that it is not serious). Poet Frederick Farryl Goodwin wrote of the first set of London photographs as follows: “The photos are superb, without exception, and the text works in mysterious ways. It's only seemingly throwaway and walks across its designated space with the grace and breeze of a trapeze artist.”
Poet and critic Keith Tuma teaches at Miami University, where he edits the Miami University Press and directs the low-residency program in creative writing. His most recent book is a volume of selected poems, Climbing into the Orchestra (The Mute Canary, 2017).
Billy Simms is an artist and educator. He lives in Hamilton, OH with his wife and four cats.