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Photographer's Showcase: Paradise City - Landscape/Human Interaction & Dynamic Surfaces

We are pleased to announce two new stunning portfolios of images from Photographer’s Showcase artist Hans Bol -- Paradise City - Landscape/Human Interaction & Dynamic Surfaces.

Untitled, 2000 from Paradise City -- Landscape/Human Interaction by Hans Bol
The Carrara region of Tuscany, Italy is long famous for the marble that bears its name. Its quarries have been active for centuries, and out of its stone mountains have come the building blocks for great pieces of art and architecture: the Pantheon, Trajan’s Column, Michelangelo's David, Duomo di Siena, Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Hans Bol’s initial interest in marble started as a challenge — a masterful photographic printer, Bol wanted to attempt to capture the subtle hue of the marble’s surface in a photograph. “I wanted to master the reproduction of these tones in print; the whites should not be white because then they would be invisible, but also they couldn't be too grey because then they wouldn't be read as white. In addition, the difference between shadows and highlights in terms of f-stops was substantial - another obstruction to conquer. First I went to graveyards in the Netherlands, but did not find much. So I decided to go to Italian graveyards, for example in Genova and Florence. Rich places in terms of marble.” Bol’s fascination with marble eventually lead him to Carrara; two decades later, he has released a book and series of images of his exploration of the region.
Untitled, 1999 from Paradise City -- Dynamic Surfaces by Hans Bol
Split into two portfolios, Paradise City Dynamic Surfaces and Landscape/Human Interaction give a glimpse of the breadth of Bol’s investigation into Carrara, from expansive panoramic mountain views to delicate studies of the stone itself. The completeness of his photographic documentation is astonishing, thoroughly exploring the quarries and experimenting with camera formats along the way to find the best methods to capture the multifaceted beauty of the area and to get to know it, to understand the history and complexity of the landscape. The resulting vast series of images are a testament to Bol’s craftsmanship, dedication and vision, a thoughtful and involved series that grows in depth and fascination the more one explores it — perhaps not unlike Bol’s experience with Carrara itself.

Untitled, 1989 from Paradise City -- Landscape/Human Interaction by Hans Bol
Dynamic Surfaces revels in the beauty of the stone, intricately toned and texturally varied. The marble is complex, sometimes smooth enough to be almost a complete abstraction, while at other times craggy and mottled, weather stained and chipped. These images capture unintended sculptures, formed through the act of quarrying, patinaed by the elements, just as striking in their natural state as when shaped and polished by an artist. Rich in tone, the images are tactile, one can almost feel the smoothness or roughness of the cold stone simply by looking at it. The images in Landscape/Human Interaction likewise have a physical element to them, but here one is left with the overwhelming sense of scale, the massiveness of this land and the quarries; Carrara seems to be a land of giants, and man a diminutive creature conquering the ancient mountain. Majestic views of the landscape reveal how man has carved the earth, white scars appearing in the dense foliage. The quarries themselves are another world, giant cut blocks sit like sentinels at the edge of enormous white theaters where the marble is extracted. It is a world of strangeness, but also one of beauty, and we are left with the magnificence of the area, scenes that are breath-taking for their granduer, but also in the environmental impact they reveal — the mountain literally being taken down, stone by stone. Taken completely, Paradise City visually explains the human obsession with this fine natural material, but does not let us shy away from the destructive reality of fulfilling this desire, a reality with a legacy of tens of thousands of years. -- Sarah Bradley
Untitled, 1987 from Paradise City -- Dynamic Surfaces by Hans Bol
Images from Paradise City have also been released in a beautiful book from Hans Bol's Recto Verso imprint. Selected as one of the 'Best Dutch Book Designs of 2011,' it is available in both a trade and limited edition. Find more information here.

Read the photo-eye Blog interview with Hans Bol on Paradise City here.

See Hans Bol's Paradise City portfolios. along with his Het Formaat van Waterland / Waterland Images on the Photographer's Showcase here

For more information on Bol's work, please contact photo-eye Gallery Associate Director Anne Kelly by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202