On April 27, 2021, a photographer by the name of Traer Scott released a photography book titled Goodbye Salad Days: Kevin Faces Adulthood. Ms. Scott ingeniously photographed a hamster – named Kevin – going through various stages of a quarter-life crisis. I became familiar with the book because its photographs and clever accompanying text were featured around Brooklyn Bridge Park as part of Photoville, an annual photography exhibition in the park and in DUMBO – an area that is no stranger to public art displays. Photoville had seldom left much of an impression on me until I saw the charming series of Kevin photographs this year.

A Fence Gives Us a New Way To See Kevin

The enlarged Kevin photo canvases were hung on the low fences that guard the edges of the piers from people who may otherwise take a swim in the East River. I thought about writing a brief article on the display, but I was not sure what I would right. The Kevin photos and attached commentary spoke for themselves better than I could speak for them.

However, when photos from a book are out in the wild, external circumstances may conspire to give them an effect not possible in the pre-printed pages of an artbook. Over the past year, brave workmen on barges have been fortifying the piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park. On one of the piers, they found it necessary to erect a wire fence between pedestrians and the pier guard-fence. This fence came between me and some of the Kevin canvases. The effect on one particular canvas – seen below – was highly amusing:

Canvas featuring Kevin the hamster from "Goodbye Salad Days" chained to his desk behind a fence at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Photoville).
Photo taken with the Open Camera App on my TeraCube e2 /e/ OS phone. Edited for publication by Victor V. Gurbo.

Poor Kevin wonders if his entire life will be a form of corporate slavery. Will he be able to speak in anything other than boardroom talk in his rare spare time? How inadvertently fitting it was for this photo to be seen through the filter of a fence. Now not only is Kevin spiritually chained to his desk, he is also imprisoned there.

Poor hamster.

Lest he thinks he can rekindle the magic of the past, another fence had a similarly grim effect on a neighboring Kevin canvas on the same pier.

Canvas featuring Kevin the hamster from "Goodbye Salad Days" trying to revive a garage band at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Photoville).
Photo taken with the Open Camera App on my TeraCube e2 /e/ OS phone. Edited for publication by Victor V. Gurbo.

Nothing is the same. There will be no rekindling the magic.

Hello Salad Days

Having seen all the Kevin photos in Brooklyn Bridge Park and purchased Goodbye Salad Days, I can give the ensemble a very positive review. I am not sure where Ms. Scott came up with the idea to create a photograph series of a hamster having a quarter-life crisis, or how Kevin was so cooperative, but the overall impression is very charming. If the description, outgoing links, and two photographs in this article amuse you, I encourage you to consider picking up a copy for yourself or a friend or family member who would appreciate it. I have no affiliate links, but Goodbye Salad Days is readily available from online retailers and comes at a fair price for the high-quality content it offers.

We certainly cannot top the book itself here at The New Leaf Journal, but I trust that we have offered a unique look at Kevin that only existed due to the confluence of the display of Kevin canvases at Photoville and some inadvertently well-timed and well-positioned construction work.