by Frederick Egan Castleberry
The first magazine I ever read on a regular basis was the A&F Quarterly. It was the lifestyle periodical published by Abercrombie & Fitch back in the late 90s. The avant-garde magalog tip-toed the fine line between editorial and catalog content so effortlessly that to my 15 year-old eye, it was cool...unbelievably cool.
Printed on cougar vellum paper (unique for a catalog), the Quarterly felt ambitious. It introduced me to more than just clothes, food, travel, sex, and all the controversy that came along with that. More importantly, it introduced me to the work of photographer Bruce Weber. That introduction in 1997 would serve as a major influence in my photographic development a decade later.
Still, to this day, I love Bruce Weber's photographs. He captures groups like no one else. Loose and yet connected, often with a sense of occasion, shot in that moment between the moment. His new coffee table book, Born Ready, is a collectible volume of essays and images that reveals a very personal and original vision of America today. Weber gets up close and personal with a unique assortment of talented and courageous individuals...and does what he does so beautifully, share a sliver of their story.