RoosterVision: Shannon Taggart’s SÉANCE (Fulgur Press, 2019)

An ongoing series of articles spotlighting movies, music, art, comics, and other assorted media.

…an ongoing series of articles spotlighting movies, music, art, comics, and other assorted media that we at Rooster Republic Press find ourselves enjoying. Once a week, on Thursdays, we will showcase new and old works and, hopefully, help spread the word on great stuff you might otherwise miss out on.

RoosterVision was previously the name of our non-fiction imprint, and since those titles and that line of books are no longer, we have decided to resurrect RoosterVision for the purpose of this showcase. Enjoy!

In this fourth entry of our “RoosterVision” series, we take a brief look at Shannon Taggart’s excellent SÉANCE. Published in 2019, Taggart’s book is something of a cross-genre exercise, a point acknowledged by the back cover copy, noting that the book is “…part documentary, part ghost story…” though it is, in our opinion, so much more than that.

SÉANCE began as a photography project for Shannon Taggart, and the book’s central material is a pictorial chronicle of spiritualism, the practice, and the practitioners; 150 original photographs in all. Had SÉANCE been nothing but these photos, we believe the book would be worth seeking out. Arresting images throughout, Shannon Taggart becomes something of a medium, herself, capturing the corporeal while her subjects work to capture the ethereal. And, oh, what Taggart captures in her book:

And this is just a drop in the proverbial ocean that is SÉANCE.

But, as noted before, SÉANCE offers much more, bridging Taggart’s photography to the history of Spiritualism and spiritualist photography, an oft-ignored practice, which is surprising given the shared history of taking pictures and talking to ghosts.

Supplemental material includes essays on Mysticism, a history of photography and Spiritualism (which includes loads of rare, historical photos), Taggart’s own written commentary, and an intro from none other than former-Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd.

It’s a hell of a byline, to be sure. But it’s no joke. Aykroyd takes the paranormal very seriously, and has done so for many years.

Again, we cannot stress enough how wonderful Shannon Taggart’s SÉANCE is. A front-to-back excellent book, in all regards, from the informative essays and history, to the striking photography, and the commentary therein. And if you’re still on the fence, know that TIME named SÉANCE “One of the Best Photobooks of 2019.”

One can find copies of SÉANCE, if they are so inclined, but the book is presently out of print, so prices on the secondary market can be quite extravagant, to say the least. It is, however, one of our favorites in the Rooster library. We hope, if nothing else, the book sees reprint in the near future.

Thanks for reading, as always, and remember…

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