by Michael Schmelling

224 pages, hardcover, 7.75” x 10.5”
ISBN: 978-0-9829642-9-3

In the winter of 2007, photographer Michael Schmelling, known for his previous books Shut Up Truth and The Plan, photographed the USA National Memory Championships in New York City. Roughly one hundred competitors gathered in a modest conference hall in the Con Edison building to compete in a series of mnemonic tests. Schmelling’s photographs from that day are primarily of the competitors, all intensely engaged in recalling and reciting lists of information. Schmelling returned to the championships in 2008, photographing many of the same competitors as the year before. Building a book of short, interrelated stories, Schmelling has combined these images of mnemonists, with a series of similar, overlapping narratives. Traveling through a North American landscape of neutral interiors, the viewer of Land Line encounters an array of subjects in the midst of thinking, forgetting, questioning, and interpreting. Photographs of professional mnemonists, teenagers in an algorithmic code competition, entrepreneurs, a Hollywood actor, prisoners, and English language students dressed up as historical figures - coalesce into a larger narrative about cognition, memory and information.