“One night while rooting through the recycling bin for magazines, I found all the confidential Ph.D. applicant files for the biology department at an Ivy League university from the years 1965-1975. Stapled to many of the yellowed documents were photographs of the prospective students. They were treasures! I tore through the folders and rescued every portrait I could find. I had to have them. Only later did I realize I had to publish them.” So begins the preface to Jesse Reklaw’s Applicant. A priceless time-bomb of pop culture, Reklaw serves a compelling and secret look into an impossibly lost era.
Collecting photos from the 1970s and paired with accompanying comments from employers and professors, the results are absurdist, confusing, often hilarious and disturbing. Applicant provides unique insight into outdated 1970s social attitudes and ephemera (under one girl’s photo: “Weakness: she is a female, and an attractive, modest one, so is bound to marry”). Much of the book’s appeal however is found in what the book fails to say: the blank and despondent stares of its subjects, the outdated fashions and hairstyles and its understated text. Equal parts Ann Taintor and Found Magazine, Applicant is one of those books you read once and then want to show everyone. In fulfilling Jesse’s dream, we’ve republished this as a tiny paperback book!