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photo-eye Gallery Opening July 27, 2018:
Light + Metal – Unique Photographs and Objects
Please join photo-eye Gallery for Light + Metal, a group exhibition featuring unique photographic prints and objects by 13 artists working with an array of alternative and non-standard processes. An Opening for Light + Metal will be held on Friday, July 27th from 5 to 7 pm during the Last Friday Art Walk in the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District.


ANNOUNCING
LIGHT + METAL
UNIQUE PHOTOGRAPHS AND OBJECTS

Opening & Artist Reception: Friday, July 27, 5 – 7 PM
On View: July 27 – September 15, 2018



Yellow, November, Photograph by Michael Jackson, Luminogram, 20x16" Image

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Please join photo-eye Gallery for Light + Metal, a group exhibition featuring unique photographic prints and objects by 13 artists working with an array of alternative and non-standard processes. An Opening for Light + Metal will be held on Friday, July 27th from 5 to 7 pm during the Last Friday Art Walk in the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District.

Two Permutations of Light (Ilford Multigrade FB), 2018, Photograph by Julie Weber,
 photogram diptych on gelatin silver paper (print 1 fixed; print 2 unfixed), 14x11" Image, $1500
ABOUT THE ARTWORK

Now is a very exciting time for photography. The 13 artists in Light + Metal are reacting to the proliferation of digital photographic technologies by experimenting with traditional, metal-based processes and materials, including silver-gelatin paper, cyanotype, and wet collodion, to create unique photographic objects—often without using a camera

The artists in Light + Metal employ 19th and 20th-century processes to address three main concerns, the first of which confronts a core tenet of photography: rendering light on a surface. In some works, such as those by Julie Weber and Michael Jackson, light itself becomes the subject. Other artists, including Meghann Riepenhoff, Anne Arden McDonald, and David Ondrik, push the boundaries of photographic materials. All the works included in Light + Metal challenge the notion of a photograph as a convincing representational image.

Wasted Flowers, 2016, Photograph by Anne Arden McDonald, Lumen Print, 20x16" Image, Edition of 5, $1400
THE ARTISTS

David Emit Adams, Kate Breakey, Vanessa Marsh, Nissa Kubly, Mike Jackson, Anne Arden McDonald, Heather Oelklaus, Kevin O’Connell, David Ondrik, Meghann Riepenhoff, Julie Weber, Vanessa Woods and Lori Vrba

All prices listed were correct at the time this post was published.

For the current print price and availability, or to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 505-988-5152 x 202 or gallery@photoeye.com.


Book Review The Black Trilogy Photographs by Ralph Gibson Reviewed by Collier Brown In that sense, The Black Trilogy is as much a textbook for aspiring photographers as it is a seminal achievement in the history of photography. But the real pleasure is one of intoxication.”
The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. 
 University of Texas Press, 2018.
The Black Trilogy
Reviewed by Collier Brown

The Black Trilogy.
Photographs by Ralph Gibson. Text by Giles Mora.
University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, USA, 2018. 200 pp., 170 black-and-white illustrations, 8¾x12¼x¾".


Grant Faulkner, editor of 100 Word Story, describes the genre of flash fiction as “one part story, one part poem”—a narrative with plot, broken by “absences,” that may feel, at times, “almost spectral, haunting what’s been told.” If ever a photographer met this ephemeral standard, Ralph Gibson would be the one.

I met Gibson in the usual, unspectacular way: standing in line to have a book signed. He was manning photo-eye’s table at AIPAD this year, inscribing copies of The Black Trilogy, a shadowy omnibus of his three most groundbreaking monographs: The Somnambulist (1970), Deja-Vu (1972), and Days at Sea (1974). At seventy-nine, Gibson’s startling gunmetal blue eyes have lost none of their gleam and certainly none of their aim. On the title page of my copy, “Ra” and “Gib” appear in a semi-legible lunge. I exited the line, but on my way out, I thought: even in the name, plot and absence.

That’s how The Black Trilogy works. Drama, intrigue, fantasy, and occasional danger hinge on interrupted narratives, cinematic and surreal. And though Gibson’s technique has appeared in more than thirty books over the past fifty years, it feels as if it were born fully fledged, like Athena stepping out of Zeus’s cracked head.

The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. University of Texas Press, 2018.

There’s a photograph in Gibson’s first book, San Fran (1960), taken when he was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute in the early sixties. A man strums an acoustic guitar in the foreground, and behind him, an infant’s open hand glows above her crib. Compare this photograph with the well-known hand in The Somnambulist (the cover image for The Black Trilogy)—the symbolism of it, that radiant reaching of one’s hidden self toward art. It’s a plot that repeats throughout Gibson’s books, but with a strength that seems to have sidestepped the pangs of aesthetic adolescence.

The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. University of Texas Press, 2018.

Which is not to say that, outside of publishing, Gibson didn’t have misgivings about the direction of his career. Very early on, he’d set out to be a photojournalist, apprenticing under Dorothea Lange and, later, working alongside Robert Frank. But he was leading a double life. Gibson felt that the photographs he made off the clock — like the iconic hand in the doorway — contradicted his stated profession.

The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. University of Texas Press, 2018.

Even Lange noticed Gibson’s vocational identity crisis. “I see your problem, Raphael,” Lange once said, “you have no point of departure.” Whereas Lange preferred the way stations of reality, Gibson roamed regions far more abstract and psychological — regions loosely mapped by a deference to art history. He found himself navigating the world through its poets, musicians, philosophers, sculptors, and painters. Figures like T.S. Eliot, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jorge Luis Borges, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Frank, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Stéphane Mallarmé, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alain Resnais, George Gurdjieff, Marcel Duchamp, Ingmar Bergman, Alexey Brodovitch, and Alfred Hitchcock populate Gibson’s inner landscapes.

The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. University of Texas Press, 2018.

Hitchcock deserves special attention. As a boy at the Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, California, Gibson would watch as his father assist the Master of Suspense onset. The high contrast and close-up techniques that Hitchcock used to perfect his style made an indelible impression. It was all about the intimacy of the camera, which became more than a technique for Gibson; it became a philosophy. Get close. Then get closer. Delete distances, substance, and space. That mantra would provide Gibson with what he would later call his “subtractive approach.”

The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. University of Texas Press, 2018.

A photographer’s equipment usually doesn’t interest me, especially if it doesn’t make itself obviously known in the photograph. But I can’t help but think that something essential to Gibson’s flash fiction owes it's effectiveness to the 35mm rangefinder Leica M. It’s a camera that allows the eye to see inside and outside the image at once, Gibson says, never losing contact with the overall composition. Without that sense of proportion, one risks a “visual coitus interruptus.”

Lots of things are interrupted in The Black Trilogy, but rarely the sensual. In The Somnambulist, for instance, we see on one page the image of a woman slipping her fingers through the fingers of a man off-camera. Charged with anticipation and stopped breath, eyes and fingers lock. But not until the next image on the facing page does the moment find release: a salon on fire: desire’s spontaneous combustion.

The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. University of Texas Press, 2018.

One of the most exciting features of this trilogy is the way Gibson arranges his photographs. While aboard the USS Tanner in 1959, he encountered T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. The poem inspired Gibson to consider more carefully the emotional impact of words and images juxtaposed on a page. To capture that poetic sensibility, Gibson began arranging The Somnambulist as a series of diptychs, each spread a single plot-burst of juxtaposition with the crisis or climax left to the viewer’s imagination. The images may not always continue one another, as they do, for instance, in the Deja-Vu photo of a pointed gun and its complimentary image, a shooter mid-aim. But even when they feel discontinuous, they resonate in a careful balance of shape, tone, size, symbol, and allusion.

The Black TrilogyPhotographs by Ralph Gibson. University of Texas Press, 2018.

In that sense, The Black Trilogy is as much a textbook for aspiring photographers as it is a seminal achievement in the history of photography. But the real pleasure is one of intoxication. In these three books, we join Odysseus in the lap of the nymph Calypso, distracted by beauty for seven years. Except that, in Gibson’s version, the boat has been cut out of the narrative. There is no escape.
— Collier Brown

Purchase Book

Collier Brown is a photography critic and poet. Founder and editor of Od Review, Brown also works as an editor for 21st Editions (Massachusetts) and Edition Galerie Vevais (Germany).

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Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Laura M. André Laura M. André selects Commonplace, edited by Tamsyn Adams and Sophie Feyder, as Book of the Week.
Commonplace, edited by Tamsyn Adams and Sophie Feyder.
Fourthwall Books, 2018.

Laura M. André selects Commonplaceedited by Tamsyn Adams and Sophie Feyder, from Fourthwall Books, as Book of the Week.

"Commonplace is a unique book of vernacular photographs from two private South African collections. The oldest of these reaches back to the mid-19th century and belongs to the white Drummond-Fyvie family, who settled in the former Colony of Natal in 1905. The other collection comprises the mid-20th century work of two black South African photographers: Ronald Majongwa Ngilima and his son Thorence. The Ngilimas photographed in the African, Indian, and Colored communities near Johannesburg during the heart of the apartheid era. 

The book's editors, Sophie Feyder and Tamsyn Adams — the latter actually a member of the Drummond-Fyvie family 
 initially were working on two separate research projects in which they were investigating how family photographs shape our understanding of history.  Their conjoined work, Commonplace, exists ''to suggest the varied ways in which lives lived in different times and places, and under very disparate circumstances, might nevertheless be tied to each other — if not in a common place then at least in their commonplaces.'

As the publisher explains, the book presents a range of images from the two collections 'in an imagined and creative dialogue, [which] gives the reader a new way to consider the relationship between peoples’ ordinary, everyday experiences, and larger socio-political forces in South Africa. The people in these photographs are unlikely to have met each other, but in bringing the collections together, unexpected visual connections begin to emerge, suggesting the varied ways in which these different lives might resonate with each other. This exercise in juxtaposition does not claim to transcend the political, but brings to the fore the unremarkable, commonplace details that also make the political deeply personal.'

While this strategy might dangerously background social, political, and economic realities and inequalities in favor of a facile search for similarities (not unlike critical responses leveled at The Family of Man exhibition), I found the project to be surprisingly effective. In her review of the the book, curator and scholar Oluremi C. Onabanjo questions 'how a 'commonplace' can provide a prudent point of parallel, or contact, while still honoring the heartbreaking ruptures and tensions writ large throughout South African history. Perhaps Adams and Feyder prefer to leave these strings untied, as we continue to reckon with the social and spatial aftermath of the apartheid area in contemporary South Africa, and instead focus their offering on a more careful consideration of the country’s history through personal images — an exciting and worthwhile endeavor in itself.'

I have a strong affinity — or obsession — with vernacular photographs, the stories and memories they convey, and their material histories. Commonplace is an immensely satisfying and complex presentation of these image types. The book's brief closing essays and illustrated list of plates provide just enough context to the 160+ illustrations that make up the majority of the book's content and supply its rich intellectual and emotional fodder." — Laura M. Andé

Purchase Book

Commonplaceedited by Tamsyn Adams and Sophie Feyder. Fourthwall Books, 2018.
Commonplaceedited by Tamsyn Adams and Sophie Feyder. Fourthwall Books, 2018.


Laura M. André received her PhD in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught photo history at the University of New Mexico before leaving academia to work with photobooks. She is the manager of photo-eye's book division.



photo-eye Gallery Mitch Dobrowner:
New Releases
photo-eye Gallery is pleased to present two new Mitch Dobrowner photographs. Together, these images juxtapose a natural and an urban environment while preserving Dobrowner's signature approach to the landscape – one that emphasizes vastness, drama, and a grand respect for the planet  we inhabit.
photo-eye Gallery is pleased to present two new Mitch Dobrowner photographs. Together, these images juxtapose a natural and an urban environment while preserving Dobrowner's signature approach to the landscape – one that emphasizes vastness, drama, and a grand respect for the planet  we inhabit. Dobrowner's black-and-white landscapes come in three editions starting at 14x20 inches and as large as 34x50 inches.

Both of these works are currently available at the first price tier. Please contact photo-eye Gallery to purchase Mitch Dobrowner's NEW photographs.

Mitch was kind enough to share his thoughts on his work. Enjoy!

Natron Sunrise, Archival Pigment Ink Print, 20x30" Image, Edition of 25, $2500, ©Mitch Dobrowner 

"I always have to remind myself that what seems to be is not always as it really is; that the Earth is really a billion-year-old rock spinning through space. These two images represent a juxtaposition between how I see our natural world and the urban landscapes man has built upon it."
-Mitch Dobrowner

Urbane, Archival Pigment Ink Print, 20x30" Image, Edition of 25, $2500, ©Mitch Dobrowner 

"I always thought that if I could do a 1000-year time-lapse of the city of Los Angeles we’d see that everything we have constructed is just temporary; that the landscape itself wouldn’t change but what mankind built upon it would rise and fall over time. We’re only temporary here. The land we think we own, we don't - we're only borrowing it. That land will still be here where we're all gone."

-Mitch Dobrowner








Here is a quick video of Mitch showing us what the wind sounds like on a typical day of shooting at Tronna Pinnacles 







If you would like to read more about Mitch Dobrowner click here for an interview by Anne Kelly.  



All prices listed are correct at the time this post was published, but are subject to change as the images are available in limited editions. Please reach out to the gallery for the most current information.

For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com



Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Forrest Soper Forrest Soper selects High Fashion by Paweł Jaszczuk as Book of the Week.
High Fashion By Paweł Jaszczuk
Zen Foto Gallery, 2018.
Forrest Soper selects High Fashion by Paweł Jaszczuk from Zen Foto Gallery as Book of the Week.

"High Fashion by Paweł Jaszczuk collects a series of images taken of Japanese businessmen or salarymen between 1:00 and 4:00 am. Over the period of two years, Jaszczuk photographed these men, passed out from exhaustion on the streets, dressed in their finest business attire. Overworked, these men would be driven to the point that many individuals fell asleep while standing upright. However, many more can be seen sprawled across street corners, stairwells, and subway platforms. When salarymen can reportedly work as much as sixty hours per week and feel pressure to participate in nomikai or drinking parties after work, the inevitable result is many businessmen passing out before they can make it to their homes.

Jaszczuk’s taxonomical study of these men pushed to their limits paints a multifaceted picture of contemporary society. Men depart their fast-paced lifestyles for temporary relief, in an event both humorous and horrifying. As sleepers contort themselves, many seem to be posing as if they were fashion models — a motif only heightened by the book’s magazine inspired design. The obvious juxtaposition between crisp, tailored suits and the brutal streets is jarring and surreal. These men seem both tortured and at peace simultaneously, as they find relief where they can. Elegance meets depravity, as men exemplify both the pinnacle and the nadir of success simultaneously.

At the end of the day, High Fashion not only serves as a peculiar taxonomy but also a cautionary warning. Like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman or Dorthea Lange’s Mended Stockings, High Fashion ingeniously paints a picture of the economic and cultural hardships of a time and place. Paweł Jaszczuk has created a body of work that is hypnotically captivating, and incredibly thought provoking. Every time I read this book I am left with a newfound insight or revelation. High Fashion is a breathtaking publication that deserves to be on the bookshelf of every working professional."
— Forrest Soper

Purchase Book

High Fashion By Paweł Jaszczuk. Zen Foto Gallery, 2018.
High Fashion By Paweł Jaszczuk. Zen Foto Gallery, 2018.


Forrest Soper is an artist and photographer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest is the editor of photo-eye Blog, a former photochemical lab technician at Bostick & Sullivan, and a graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

photo-eye Gallery America's Birthday:
A 4th of July Collection
From all of us at photo-eye Gallery, Happy 4th of July, 2018! Here is a collection of work that we feel gets into the spirit of Independence Day. Please enjoy the works of Keith Carter, Alan Friedman, Julie Blackmon, Thomas Jackson, Cig Harvey, Linda Connor, Rachel Phillips, and Tom Chambers.

Sparks, 2016, Chromogenic Print, 14x14" Image, Edition of 10, $2500, ©Cig Harvey 

From all of us at photo-eye Gallery, Happy 4th of July, 2018! Here is a collection of work that we feel gets into the spirit of Independence Day. Please enjoy the works of Keith Carter, Alan Friedman, Julie Blackmon, Thomas Jackson, Cig Harvey, Linda Connor, Rachel Phillips, and Tom Chambers. 

Fireworks, June, 2, 2015, Archival Pigment Print, 8x11" Image, Edition of 15, $700, ©Alan Friedman 
Flag Cake, 2015, Archival Pigment Print, 22x28" Image, Edition of 10, $4000, ©Julie Blackmon
Straws no. 4, Mono Lake, California, 2015, Archival Pigment Print, 20x25" Image, Edition of 5, $2500, ©Thomas Jackson 
July 4, 1899, Contact Print, Printing Out Paper, Gold Toned, 10x8" Image, $2500, ©Linda Connor
Summer, Archival Pigment Print with Encaustic Wax on Birch Panel,12x12" Image, Edition of 8, $600, ©Rachel Phillips 
Ring of Fire/Aro de Fuego, Archival Pigment Ink Print, 19x22" Image, $1200, ©Tom Chambers


All prices listed are correct at the time this post was published, but are subject to change as the images are available in limited editions. Please reach out to the gallery for the most current information.

For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com



Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo Christian Michael Filardo selects Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective by Joel Meyerowitz as Book of the Week.
Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective 
By Joel Meyerowitz 
Laurence King Publishing, 2018.
Christian Michael Filardo selects Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective, by Joel Meyerowitz, from Laurence King Publishing, as Book of the Week.

"The first time I ever met Joel Meyerowitz was in 2009 when I was eighteen years old. I had submitted three photographs to a show at Arizona State University that he was the primary juror for and he rejected all three. Strangely enough, every print submitted was set out on a table, each print Joel didn’t feel was appropriate for the show he would subsequently turn over. Like most 18-year-olds I was a bit crestfallen and my ego was bigger than I could comprehend at the time. I was annoyed, but to be fair, the photographs were bad.

Later the same evening Joel was lecturing on his body of work Aftermath about September 11th, as the privileged child of a professor I asked my father to get me tickets to the lecture in hopes that I would be able to meet Joel and ask him why he didn’t select my images for the show. Lo and behold, I end up in the VIP area at the ASU art museum pre-lecture and get my time with Mr. Meyerowitz. I approached Joel with fear and no shame simultaneously. We spoke about why we make pictures and what image making really means to us. I liken Meyerowitz’s presence to that of a monk — he is tall, bald, his clothing is simple and functional, and he speaks with a soft gentle voice. I was surprised when I confronted him that I wasn’t treated like an annoyance but a peer. Ultimately, my conversation with Meyerowitz would lead me to understand that photography can be just as much about what is in the photo as it is about what isn’t in the photo. It was the first time I can remember understanding the concept of stepping back and allowing myself to see more of the scene, an image.

Many years later, working here at photo-eye, I would meet Joel again in Santa Fe. Strangely, I couldn’t find the courage to talk to him about the night his wisdom altered my photographic life. Sure I was nervous to see him again, but I suppose I didn’t feel like reminding the oracle of the wisdom that he had bestowed upon me. The new Meyerowitz retrospective Where I Find Myself is a dense and varied look at the life of an individual that has transformed the medium of photography. Joel has done everything from street to landscape, still life to portraits, and color to black-and-white. His practice has taken him all over the world and his life, while earned, is surely one that many image-makers envy.

Where I Find Myself offers a look at the career of an individual who earned it every step of the way. It allows you to watch a master age. It is a true document that reveals the many lives we live in a single lifetime. To me, Joel’s journey is a reminder to never be defeated, but to look difficulty in the eye and forge a new path regardless of the obstacle. Ultimately, you need Meyerowitz in your library and this is the chance to get a broad look at one of most advanced photographic minds of a generation."  — Christian Michael Filardo

Purchase Book

Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective By Joel MeyerowitzLaurence King Publishing, 2018.
Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective By Joel MeyerowitzLaurence King Publishing, 2018.


Christian Michael Filardo is a Filipino American photographer, curator, and composer living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This year they released their second book The Voyeur’s Gambit through Lime Lodge. Currently, they help run the gallery and performance space Etiquette and write critically for photo-eye and Phroom. Filardo is the current shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore.

photo-eye Gallery Gallery Favorites:
Cosmos – Part 2
For the second part of our two-part Favorites Series this month, Gallery staff are focusing on Alan Friedman's striking, high-definition images of the sun, Kate Breakey's Orotones from her Golden Stardust series, and Linda Connor's rich renderings on printing out paper from California's Lick Observatory.


In Cosmos, our current exhibition, six diverse artists celebrate humanity’s fascination with the vast expanse beyond Earth’s boundaries, focusing on heavenly bodies as a means to convey notions of time, scale, and splendor. For the second part of our two-part Favorites Series this month, Gallery staff are focusing on Alan Friedman's striking, high-definition images of the sun, Kate Breakey's Orotones from her Golden Stardust series, and Linda Connor's rich renderings on printing out paper from California's Lick Observatory.

It has been a few weeks since our last show favorites, so we have had some time to live with the work while we make our next selections. Overall this is a spectacular show and must be seen in person to really get the grasp of this work. Cosmos will be up through July 20th so there is still time to come in and see the work for yourself.


Yoana Medrano – Gallery Associate
Beauty and a Beast, May 14, 2015, Archival Pigment Print, 8x11" Image, Edition of 15, $700, ©Alan Friedman 






Yoana Medrano
Gallery Associate
505-988-5152 x 116
yoana@photoeye.com

Beauty and a Beast by Alan Friedman is my pick for this week. I seem to be a sucker for color and his work overall has such an intense color palette that they will physically grab your attention. The blue from this piece does just that.

I’ve sat looking at this image, trying to figure out the title for some time and while doing so fell in love with it. Be it the sun that is the beast creating beauty with its flares or the other way around, it really captures the sun in a fairytale way. Alan reminds us not to look at "our neighborhood star" directly, but through his work we get to safely see our star. I picked Alan's work because he shows us the sun in a way that I've never seen before and it is breathtaking.

-Yoana Medrano




Anne Kelly – Gallery Director
Moon Setting over Saguaro, Arizona, Archival Pigment Print, Glass Plate, 24kt Gold Leaf, 10x14" Image, Edition of 20, $1950, ©Kate Breakey 
Anne Kelly
Gallery Director
505-988-5152 x121
anne@photoeye.com
When we have group exhibitions at the gallery visitors sometimes express that they love the show as a whole – and that this can make it particularly harder to select just one piece. While it may not be possible to purchase the entire exhibition, sometimes selecting a pair of images is a good solution. This is what I have done today.

I have selected two images of the moon – one by Kate Breakey and one by Linda Connor. Kate Breakey's image shows a crescent moon setting in her backyard in Arizona. This image is then printed on glass and backed with gold leaf so that the delicate crescent moon is just slightly illuminated.

My second selection is an image that was printed by Linda Connor, from an 8x10 glass plate negative from the archives of the Lick Observatory in Mount Hamilton, CA. This image was originally recorded on July 4th of 1899 and then later printed by Connor using the sunlight on printing out paper and then gold toned. I love that both images are of the same ancient subject, but from very different times in the world.
-Anne Kelly 

July 4, 1899, Contact Print, Printing Out Paper, Gold Toned, 10x8" Image, $2500, ©Linda Connor 

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. For more information on Cosmos, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com.



Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Daniel Boetker-Smith Daniel Boetker-Smith selects Hell's Gates by Tim Coghlan as Book of the Week.
Hell's Gates By Tim Coghlan
Perimeter Editions & Knowledge Editions, 2018.
 
Daniel Boetker-Smith selects Hell's Gates by Tim Coghlan from Perimeter Editions & Knowledge Editions as Book of the Week.

“ ‘A blaze that occurs in an institution of organized religion — no matter its cause — elicits a particularly acute response … how is it that some images seem to hold this intense charge and resonance?’ asks co-publisher Dan Rule in his short essay at the end of Hell’s Gates. Melbourne-based artist and designer Tim Coghlan has been mining the ever-ballooning Internet image archive for a number of years and across a number of publications. Hell’s Gates is his most simple and yet most effective photobook to date and is comprised of hundreds of lo-res, amateur and public domain photographs of burning churches organized into four chapters: Night, Day, Wasting Water, and Decimated.

The resonance and spectacle of these images and of such a project is brought into sharp focus by unfathomable events unfolding on a daily basis in Trump’s America (the majority of the images in the book seem to be from North America) – most recently seeing the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions defending the separating of children from their parents at the Mexican border by invoking a Biblical verse previously used to argue in favor of slavery. Given that Hell’s Gates was previously published over five years ago as a small-run zine, it is telling that Coghlan has chosen this moment to revisit and dramatically expand this project. This is a book reflecting on contemporary America, its past, its present and its future.

What lingers after spending time with Coghlan’s book is the territory of images that theorist and artist Allan Sekula spoke of in his essay "Reading an Archive" (1983). Coghlan’s position here is one of provocateur, and as the liberator of meaning, a relevant theme in current US politics. Sekula talks of the mode of “pictorial address that affects images extracted from an archive” — in the originary mode of these images their purpose was primarily informational, to describe a particular event (a burning church). In Hell’s Gates, however, the territory is shifted and enlivened by the shock of the decontextualized montage.

This book shows us hundreds of burning churches — it feels like the end of the world —most interestingly though, Hell’s Gates seems to also withhold judgment. Is this a metaphoric rail against contemporary US politics; is it a tongue-in-cheek poke at America’s relationship to organized religion; or is it a picture of American society on the brink on destroying itself from within?

Looking through Hell’s Gates I couldn’t escape the feeling that if one photobook was to remain after some cataclysm, to form the basis for a new religious belief system, I really feel like this should be the one. What a world that would be!" — Daniel Boetker-Smith

Published in an edition of 666.

Purchase Book

Hell's Gates By Tim CoghlanPerimeter Editions & Knowledge Editions, 2018.

Hell's Gates By Tim CoghlanPerimeter Editions & Knowledge Editions, 2018.

Daniel Boetker-Smith is an educator, writer, curator, publisher, and photographer. Daniel is the Academic Director at Photography Studies College (Melbourne). He is a contributor to British Journal of PhotographyVoices of PhotographyVaultPaper JournalSource, and other Australian and international publications. He is also the Founder of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive, the largest collection of self-published and contemporary photobooks from the Asia-Pacific region in the world. Daniel was previously the Managing Editor of Australia’s oldest photography magazine Photofile.

Book Review Corbeau By Anne Golaz Reviewed by Arista Slater-Sandoval Thirteen years in the making, Anne Golaz’s Corbeau, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook of the Year Award, depicts rural farm life in Switzerland where Golaz grew up. The book presents time and life experiences non-chronologically to create a visual language of Golaz’s own making.
Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017. 
 
Photography is an act of preservation — an attempt to save and savor a moment of fleeting importance. When performed regularly, it creates a visual timeline of our lives, facilitated by smartphone apps — such as Instagram or One Second Every Day. These apps harness the desire to document fleeting moments, to capture the warm comfort of past happiness in order to bask in its perpetual recollection.

Memory is a familiar place to rest easy in, as it allows recollection to whitewash, inoculate, and mitigate the coarseness of experience. There is also, beneath the façade these apps provide, a stronger need to further unpack or understand the present; to ask ourselves “why” and propel the necessity of documentation beyond nostalgia.

Thirteen years in the making, Anne Golaz’s Corbeau, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook of the Year Award, depicts rural farm life in Switzerland where Golaz grew up. The book presents time and life experiences non-chronologically to create a visual language of Golaz’s own making. Cobblestones and pastures reflect the changing seasons and consequentially the passing of years; people and livestock have offspring and grow old; cold nights and empty rooms punctuate the progress of time. Menial life events are meticulously sequenced regardless of time in varying sizes and page layouts. Written while in what she refers to as “a distant north” (Finnish Lapland), free-form musings about the farm and its inhabitants balance the portrait of place while expanding on Golaz’s relationship to the family farm.

Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.
Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.

Images, combined with text and drawings, create an abstract rhythm that produces a sense of complex familiarity. Golaz establishes her poetic visual vocabulary through design and drawn symbols between images. Color and black-and-white images, as well as the page layouts, tell a story beyond language about the passage of time. Photographing family and a known environment allows for a deeper investigation to create veiled representations, like spider webs in the summer sun that are not visible until broken. This obtuse comprehension is like hearing a foreign language for the first time. We may not know the meaning of all the words, but we understand the basic desire to communicate

Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.

Usually, we recall life events chronologically and take the passage of time for granted. In Corbeau, Golaz organizes life events according to another model. Without time as a guideline, Golaz has total autonomy in the structure of her narrative; she creates connections between images, drawings, and texts as she encounters them. She poetically mixes changes in farm life, family structure, and surroundings in support of her story.

Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.
Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.

Corbeau is a beautifully constructed book, and I would be remiss not to mention the screen-printed cover. With a beautiful purple design, the cover of the book is a print in and of itself, with the chosen image wrapping the spine and inside folded flaps. The seemingly cryptic organization of images, text, and drawings merits time and careful attention. With Golaz as the guide, readers can discover hidden connections and come to understand her rendering of rural Swiss farm life in all its complexity.
— Arista Slater-Sandoval

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ARISTA SLATER-SANDOVAL  was born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan. She moved in 2007 to washington D.C. to pursue a BFA in photography at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. After completing her BFA, Arista moved to Cambridge MA, and attended the College of Art and Design at Lesley University where she completed her MFA in Fine Art Photography in 2013. While in grad school she focused in gum bichromate, and large scale image transfers. Currently Arista lives and works in New Mexico with her husband while traveling and working on her various mediums of choice.

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