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Book of the Week: A Pick by Christopher J Johnson


Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christopher J Johnson Christopher J Johnson selects Cerro Gordo by David Black as Book of the Week.
Cerro Gordo. By David Black. Hat & Beard Press, 2016.
Christopher J Johnson selects Cerro Gordo by David Black from Hat & Beard Press as Book of the Week.

"There is a sort of photobook out there, a type I've written on before, that might best be called a lyrical photobook. Unlike the lyric essay, these don't always care if they are rooted in non-fiction; though many are, it is a more metaphorical aim that these works have – to tell a story, through a progression of images that are, more often than not, related through by metaphor rather than their individual subject matter. An early book I admire in this vane is Agenta Ekman's Tall-Maja, which features the myth of a wood nymph and her woodlands.

Cerro Gordo is a lyrical photobook. Through its progression of images, it seems to convey a spell. The exact nature of this spell might be ambiguous; it is either to open the night and dispel the day or to summon an object of desire in the form of a mysterious woman, or it is all of these, but clearly there is a witch or magician or, perhaps, snake charmer behind the movement of the book itself.

Though the tale is, as I mentioned, a little ambiguous, it is engaging as it passes between landscapes both urban and rural, portraits of people and animals and, of course, car photos. The pictures themselves are evocative of many styles, but it is the building metaphor of the spell being exhaled that, ultimately, makes Cerro Gordo intriguing and, like a spell, allows it to bite into you deeper with each contact." — Christopher J Johnson

Purchase Book

Cerro Gordo. By David Black. Hat & Beard Press, 2016.

Cerro Gordo. By David Black. Hat & Beard Press, 2016.


Christopher J Johnson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a resident writer for the Meow Wolf art collective. His first book of poetry, &luckier, has been released by the University of Colorado. He is Manager of photo-eye’s Book Division.

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