Trinity University Press

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The Luck Archive

Exploring Belief, Superstition, and Tradition

Mark Menjivar (author), Harrell Fletcher (foreword)

A photographic journey through the personal exploration of luck

Artist Mark Menjivar was in an antique bookshop in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when he found 4 four-leaf clovers pressed between the yellowed pages of an aged copy of 1000 Facts Worth Knowing. Their discovery piqued Menjivar's curiosity so much that he began a multiyear exploration into the concept of luck and its intersections with belief, culture, superstition, and tradition in people’s lives. 

Menjivar tells the story of the gentleman on an airplane who regaled him with a seemingly endless list of illnesses and unfortunate events, only to live on the bright side as the luckiest man alive. And the minor league ballplayers who obsessively shuffle through the same rituals every game so as not to tempt fate. The woman who has carried a talisman in her pocket for years to keep evil in check.

Menjivar has spent hours and days engaging people in airplanes, tattoo shops, bingo halls, international grocery stores, public parks, baseball stadiums, and voodoo shops—and out on the streets and in their homes. Along the way he documents his findings to create a physical archive that contains hundreds of objects (rings, underwear, food items, clovers, horses, pigs, herbs, rainbows, lottery strategies, seeds, day trader insights, statues, patches, crystals, spices) and the stories and pictures that go with them.

Through photographs and first person accounts, The Luck Archive takes the best of these ideas, thoughts, and objects and gives readers a glimpse into the cultures and superstitions of a colorful array of humanity. 

The Luck Archive is not a book about being lucky or unlucky. It’s an exploration of belief and the wondrous ramifications that settle in our lives. It’s a book about the truths and the lies we tell ourselves to feel safe, a story of the hopes and dreams we carry, and an archive of the things that connect us and make us elegantly human. 

Accolades

  • Designated as 2016 Fred Whitehead Award for Best Design of a Trade Book

Praise

“Menjivar’s project opens up the possibility, if only for a moment, to reflect on our own beliefs and traditions. And more importantly, it opens the potential to connect, through a tangible object, to the ethereal ideas that tie us and these symbols together.”

Glasstire

“The meticulously curated volume is but one part of an endeavor exploring the role luck plays in our lives.”

San Antonio Current

More reviews »
The Luck Archive cover
  • Price: $24.95 buy »
  • Pages: 224
  • Size: 6 5/8 x 8 1/4
  • Published: Jun 2015
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595342492
  • Price: $19.95 buy »
  • Published: Jun 2015
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595342508

Subjects

Photography, Art