Chronicling the bloody chain of events surrounding 1950’s teen serial-killing duo Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, Christian Patterson’s “Redheaded Peckerwood” has proven so popular that the first edition sold out soon after its publication, leaving many photo book lovers eagerly anticipating the release of the third edition earlier this year–along with a few additional macabre goodies. The book, whose strange title is actually Starkweather’s childhood nickname, reveals only bits and pieces of the crime spree timeline within its pages, ultimately inundating the reader with the forensic, mysterious and the grim.
The highly-acclaimed photo book loosely follows the path of Starkweather and Fugate, who murdered ten people in 1958, some of which included members of Fugate’s own family. So legendary is this bloodthirsty couple that their story is said to have inspired films such as “Badlands”, “Natural Born Killers”, “True Romance”,” Kalifornia”, and “Wild at Heart”. Fittingly enough, Patterson’s photo “House at Night” also appears in king of the morose David Lynch’s own photography book, “Paris Photo”.
Blending fact with urban legend, “Redheaded Peckerwood” adds even more intrigue to the true-crime aspect as its enigmatic, contextually sparse pages compel the reader to ponder the meaning of their contents. A true artist will always provoke emotions in his or her work, and in this spread Patterson certainly fits the bill.