The PhotoBook

April 30, 2009

The Best of Helmut Newton

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 Photographs copyright of the Helmut Newton Estate courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

Schirmer/Mosel, the late Helmut Newton’s long term publishing partner has just re-issued a softback version their Best of Helmut Newton, edited by Zdenek Felix with the art direction by June Newton, Helmut’s wife. The first edition hardbound book was initially published by Schirmer/Mosel in 1991.

This book provides a broad sampling of Newton’s body of work, including both his fashion work, portraits, assignments as well as his personal nude projects, such as Big Nudes. The black and white photographs have a wonderful tonality and contrast. The color photographs in this book appear over saturated, perhaps many were made using Kodachrome, a rather notorious high contrast color positive film. 

Newton’s long term theme was sexuality, ranging from subtle sensuality to overt eroticism, usually utilizing one of his many fetishs that he had became famous for. Most of the European publications did not have the same editorial limitations for the use of nudity and Newton used the nude models extensively. What is interesting to me is that many of his famous nudes were created in collaboration with his wife, June Newton (who’s photographic pseudonym was Alice Springs, a name taken from her native Australia).

A rather interesting photograph on the book’s back cover is a dual-self portrait of the couple with one of their athletic nude models photographed in Europe. Helmut is taking the photograph while wearing a trenchcoat, hunched over his twin lens reflex camera, not unlike the cartoon charter of the “dirty old man” who opens his trench coat on the occasion to fully reveal himself. Meanwhile June sits to the side intently watching the two, but who really has her rapt gaze, her husband or the nude model? This juxtaposition creates a sexual tension beyond photographing a nude woman, a hint at a three way relationship? Alternatively,  is June there to protect her husband from the temptations of the flesh, or is she there to protect the model from her “dirty old man”?

The model being photographed appears strong and very comfortable with her nudity. She has an air of nobility about her posture and appears very confident about her lean and young body. The standing model is also looking in the direction of the sitting June, for her approval or is it a mutual interest? But in so looking at the model, you become aware of another pair of nude legs just beyond. Who is she and why is this other person there?

The setting is also interesting as we have been provided a larger view of not only of the photographer himself, the model and his wife, but also beyond. Behind June is the exit (sortie) to the studio, with the door open and we can see cars either parked or driving by. It is very possible that those outside the studio can see in and view the posing nude model.  We can make out a silhouette of someone in a car which has paused at the entrance of the open studio door, introducing another element, that of voyeurism, creating additional sexual tension.

Newton imbues this sexual tension in his fashion photographs, with one of my favoite photographs included below, of the woman seated on the couch intently observing the shirtless man. As needed for a fashion photograph, her details of the dress are evident. There is the overtly suggestive sexual element of how that this same dress can be effectively used to communicate her interest in a relationship, such as the untied and open neck line. Like wise the models pose is very suggestive, with her legs spread wide apart, playing with a strand of her hair. She is wearing slippers, not high heels and since the man is shirtless, is this moment a flirtation or post-glory?

Not every photograph by Newton is so layered with meaning, but many are, and his photographs warrant a revisit. 

The 8 5/8″ x 10 5/8″ softcover book has 156 pages, with 105 color and duotone plates, and nicely printed in Verona Italy. The two insightful essays, translated from German in the English version, are by Noemi Smolik and Urs Stahel.

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By Douglas Stockdale

April 29, 2009

A Book’s Printed Page

Filed under: Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:34 pm

Of the various components that make up of a fine art photographic book, the one that does not seem to be discussed as much is the quality of the printed page.

I think that there a number of reasons for that, including the assumption that if the book is being printed by offset presses, such as a Heidelberg, that the printing quality is the best possible. Another is the collectability of the photographers printed and bound work, as long as the printing quality is acceptable. Perhaps a third reason, is that in this post-modernist period, that the quality of the printed page is more irrelevant as compared to the content and meaning of the bound work.

If you are concerned about the quality of the printed page, lets discuss these assumptions, starting with the off set printing process. Off set printing for the fine photography book is the same offset printing for your newspaper, cereal box or the sales poster on the window of your local market. They all utilize a halftone screening process that transfers an image from a roller to a sheet of paper. It is not difficult to see the halftone pattern on the printed page, a simple 10x magnification loop will be all that you need.

This is the same halftone you may have at home or your office in your laser printer and is utilized for the Print on Demand (POD) books. The key to higher quality is the pre-production preparation of the printing plates. If it is not in the plate, it will not be on the page.

The assumption is that if a book was printed by an offset press that all of the current technologies available in the pre-production prep were utilized. From a recent sampling of books that I have been reviewing, offset printed books are not a guarantee that the printing will the finest possible. In fact, the print quality from Print on Demand publishers who use the HP Indigo 5500 is better than a number of recent offset books, such as the recent Photolucida books printed in Hong Kong. An excellent example of a high volume but beautiful quality printed softbound publication (I can not really call this a magazine) that exhibits some of the finest offset printing available, is LensWork.  Nevertheless, because a book is offset printrf offshore in Hong Kong, Korea, China, or Malaysia does not mean that the book will have mediocre print quality.

Print quality does effect the look and the appearance of the work represented. A finer halftone screen will provide more details and contrast over a lesser halftone screen. It is difficult to make a good assessment of a books print quality when viewing a sample of the book on the Internet. Thus, from here on forward, if during my book reviews I determine that the book’s print quality is not up to muster, I will state it. Previously for my book reviews, unless a printed book was blatantly awful, I did not mention much about print quality. I have pointed out those book that I thought are finely printed, such as the Trolley Books printed in Italy. My concern is more about the content and to a lesser degree the book itself.

But the question still remains, if the book’s print quality is average or slightly detracts from the photographs, would you still purchase the book?

More than likely, the photographers images will not be re-published soon in another book and this may be the only option to see this particular body of work. A book is not meant to be the same as the photographers prints, although it is interesting on the really fine printing side, it is starting to get amazingly close. As a photographer who is interested in becoming published with a high quality book, it makes a lot of sense to obtain samples from your prospective publisher and then put your printing requirements in the contract.

Best regards, Douglas Stockdale

April 28, 2009

Donald Weber – Bastard Eden, Our Chernobyl

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Photographs copyright of Donald Weber courtesy of Photolucida

Donald Weber’s Bastard Eden, Our Chernobyl, his Photolucida 2006 Critical Massbook is a scary look at what could be our potential post-Nuclear Holecast civilization. It is also about a marginalized society and the reclamation of the land.

Weber’s photographic documentary project is the no-man’s land of the region surrounding Chernobyl (Ukraine), where 20 years ago in 1986, a nuclear reactor went really bad. The result was a 40-kilometer Exclusion Zone, where people are not permitted to enter. But they do enter and some have now chosen this area to become their home, for them and their families. Thus Weber’s question:

What was daily life actually like, in a post-nuclear world?

A post-nuclear world could be the result of the nuclear arms war going to the ultimate gamesmanship, where all of the buttons were pushed for the wrong reasons, or as in this case, nuclear reactors malfunctioning. In the first instance, as we know from the end of World War II, a nuclear war will probably clear the landscape pretty much clean, with very little remaining. In the latter, most everything remains intact with only the redioactive traces creating the issues. The latter is also the landscape of Chernobyl, silent but yet potentially deadly.

And so what results?

Nature abhors a vacuum, and since the trees, plants and most of the landscape remains intact, the wildlife are the first to re-claim the land. The rabbits, boars and deer are wild game for those people who exist on the fringe of this region, and over time, these hunters have slowly ventured further and further into this no-man’s land. Eventually people began to become squatters, taking residence in the empty and abandoned houses and buildings, to claim them as their own.

But who would knowingly choose such a dangerous location to establish a home and raise a family? Probably much like the squatters who exist through out the world, those who survive on the marginal edges of our society. And so this society evolves, functioning somewhat similar, but also in many ways very differently, that those outside this small region. In most of Weber’s photographs, you would not realize that these photographs are made in such a potentially dangerous place.  Children are at school or playing at home, acting out as they do everywhere.

There are also hints of a darker side, perhaps not directly correlated with the area, but about those who would chose this place over a much safer location. Weber captures the isolation and aspects of a dysfunctional society, who are still striving to survive. Of individuals who are captured and held here because of the choices of others, such as the children of parents who have decided to bring their families here. We do not know what their other living options are, but the body language within many of his photographs does create a message about their isolation and despair. Yet, family bonds and values are still strong even in the face of such a bleak situation, and where there are plenty of potatoes and vodka and wild game to hunt.

Is it just me, or is there chance that those eyes of the lone man leaning on the snow covered shed (below) reminds you of Jack Nicholson’s character in the Shining? There is something sinister and malevolent in those hooded eyes as they connect with me. Is he anomaly in this region, or does he represent what we all might become under these same circumstances?

I believe that there is yet another theme that runs through Weber’s book, and best illustrated by one of the last photographs in his book, that of the urban landscape photograph, below. The desolate urban landscape, dark, cold and foreboding, but with the sun peaking out from the tall structuresand the slender shaft of sunlight spreading over the snow covered foreground. To me, it speaks of Hope.  And Hope held by the people in Chernobyl for a safe and prosperous life, and thus Hope for mankind in the face of such an ominous potential.

These are searing documentary photographs.

 The 8 1/2″ x 10″  softbound book is 64 pages with 62 photographs, and was printed in Hong Kong. The book is accompanied with a text by Larry Frolick.

Update from Larry Frolick, off-line I received the following comment:

Hi Douglas!  I read your review of Bastard Eden with interest. As Don Weber’s collaborator from the writing side, I have travelled with him through a number of desolated landscapes including the uncountry of Kurdistan that covers the remotest parts of Syria, Turkey and Iraq. The enclosed comix, Kebabistan, was drawn by Steve Wilson, and written by me about our adventures at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. Don waded into the thick of knife fights in the grubby streets, massed tanks, mad farmers and unhappy GI’s, right into the shit of war and the craziness it brings to everyone within range of the guns.

Who is not in range of the long guns of today? That’s the question we try to answer in Bastard Eden. People try to live normalno, as they say here — but then this thing from nowhere keeps coming and knocking things into another dimension.

That’s what we discovered about these people living in the abandoned Chernobyl region in Ukraine. They are living in a past-less place; whatever it was, this thing has come and gone, taking what it wanted and leaving people to their post-atomic existence. For us, as two investigators of the silent crimes of history, this story is not about the failure of technology — or about the limits of human imagination.

It’s about the randomness of a nonhuman Power.

Is this Power evil, as our cartoon story suggests? Is it stronger than us? We don’t know. We watch the Chernobyl hunters snare wild rabbits for supper and their wives pick radioactive raspberries, and we think:

Life goes on, despite everything that can be thrown at it.

Larry Frolick, Niagara on The Lake, ON

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By Douglas Stockdale

April 25, 2009

Nick Waplington – Double Dactyl

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Double Dactyl photographs copyright of Nickolas Waplington, courtesy of Trolly Books

To begin, this is a self titled book with an interesting twist, and probably elaborating will possibly add some insights into Waplington’s creative body of work. In poetry theory, a dactyl refers to a unit of rhythms that has three syllables, with the emphasis on the first, thus a long-short-short pattern. Which is a poetic description of his name, Nicholas Waplington. nice.

This collection of photographs appear to be a continuation of various themes that Waplington originated in his earlier projects & books.  His images are initiated with a view camera, then on to the computer, so I would understand that his photograph images are very purposefully created. As Waplington states in the books introduction, photography is often a game of tricks and ruses, and we can rarely be certain that what we are seeing is being offered without manipulation. Thus a fairt hint that we are dealing with a Post-modernist photographer, but with the beguiling appearances of a Modernist.

In as I have not had the pleasure of meeting Waplington, I think that we start the book with an different kind self portrait of the photographer, The Death of Creativity, 2006.  The photographer stands in his studio with his head brutally cut off, but not a blood splattered crime scene, as so often I find on television today. As with many of his photographs, there is a lot of information on the edges of his photographs, and in this case, you can find the potentially unedited photograph, head still intact, as a small print on the back wall. This photograph, like most in the book, is a paradox, riddled with many more questions asked, than questions answered.

The photographic image coupled with the caption create an interesting dialog, and more questions arise as you attempt to deconstruct the content of the image, which is fairly consistent with post-modernist work. For this self decapitating image, is the message about his personal feelings for his own creative abilities or a social comment about how he feels his creative work is encouraged or discouraged?

The pace and flow of Waplington’s photograph images through the book does not seem to create a consistent flow of thoughts, but perhaps mimics a complex life of jumping from one random thought on to another. Thus the description by Tarsia that these are a collectionof photographs rings true.  This book is not like many of the photographic monographs which have a consistency around a specific theme, unless you consider randomness a theme. Perhaps in a way, this book is about un-masking of what we would expect of a modernistic photographic book.

There are other things at play in this body of work. Such as angst with the evidence of deteroiating environmental conditions, but nevertheless, there is still beauty to contemplate. As Andrea Tarsia states in the introduction;

The photographs collected n Double Dactyl demonstrate that Waplington’s dualities continue. Some of these images convey a sense of barren desolation, a bleakness made up of washed out colours, forlorn exteriors and empty landscape mostly taken from the middle distance…..And yet, other images in Double Dactyl show an intense engagement in the lives of people and in personal, social and geographical communities.

The photographs are layered with meaning. An urban landscape captioned Looking into the Future, 2005 could be about a large and extended family interacting with the children (the Future generation), stage center. Then upon further inspection we find again on the edges of the photograph, a man peering into the glass door with the overhead signage of FUTURE. I find one meaning for the content and suddenly I realize another potential meaning.  These thoughts crash together to form yet another. The resulting photographs appear complex, yet simplistic, but they are all very interesting.

Even the seemilngly casual landscape photographs of happy vacationers have deeper social implications (deconstructed with postcolonial theory).  In his image  Skegness #1, 2005 , a hand rail becomes a dividing line, one the right are the establishment who are having a leisurely day of vacation holiday.  On the other side of the rail, we have appearances of a couple of minority working woman who may be on the way to work. Meanwhile, we have some one at one the edge of the image, gesturing at them, perhaps pointing them out. This photograph is as relevant to the social issues in the United Kingdom as it is to the United States, or for any culture with a minority.

The book is a nice collection of interesting and thought provoking photographic images.

The book measures 8″ x 11 1/4″, contains 56 color photographic plates with captions, including two gate folds, the book is unnumbered.  The  introduction was written by Andrea Tarsia, The Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK. Similar to other Trolley Books that I have reviewed, this was beautifully printed in Italy by Grafiche Antiga.

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Best regards, Douglas Stockdale

April 21, 2009

Jeffery Ladd on PhotoBook collecting

Filed under: Book Reviews — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:03 am

Interesting post, with a ton of comments by Jeffery Ladd for his two year anniversary reviewing photobooks on his Sb4, which is linked up here. And reserve some time before attempting to read all of the comments, there were over a 100 I think at last count. I could not make it though the entire list tonight.

Meanwhile, I have been a little conservative about my own personal background about providing these reviews, but if you are interested, I have provided some insight on my personal blog, Singular Images, here. In retrospect, I have been reluctant to write here about my reviewing process, but that is probably just a personal issue about how comfortable I am about the subject. That may change over time, eh?

So for transparency, I acquire some of books for review by outright purchasing them and some are provided by the publishers. And as a photographer, I creat my own books, so I tread lighthly here. Regardless, I don’t pull any punches as to what I think about the books I review, which is why I am pretty sure that I am on at least one publishers shit list at the moment, (if not two), as well as some photographers are not exactly enamoured with my reviews, while others state that they appreciate my feedback.

So it is interesting to read Jeffery’s post and the subsequent discussion about the fine art photography photobook market. And for the record, I do not purchase extra copies of any photobooks that I provide a favorable review, as I read them, use them and enjoy them and I am not a collector per se.

Best regards, Douglas Stockdale

BTW with all of the talk about Martin Parr, did any see the brief piece about him on Ovation Sunday night, when he stated that when he decided to join a photo agency, he went for the best with Magnum? I think he is both a creative photographer as well as an astute business guy.

April 17, 2009

Steve Pyke – Earthward

Filed under: Book Reviews, Photo Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:39 pm

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Photographs copyright of Steve Pyke and courtesy of Nazraeli Press

Upon looking at Steve Pyke’s recent published body of work, Earthward, published by Nazraeli Press, I immediately thought of the earlier found still life photographs of Irving Penn.  Both photographers have created a new context for their found subjects when isolating from their normal environmental states. I believe it was Owen Edwards, when earlier discussing Penn’s photographs,  wrote

 “the purpose of the still life is to allow us time to contemplate the beauty of objects by holding them aloof from time”

There is something beautiful about these basic landscaping tools when held “aloof.”  Perhaps beyond the strangeness of some of them, not the ones I usually see the in neighborhood gardening supply store. These are photographs of worn tools, held and handled repeatedly to complete utilitarian tasks.  Likewise, these implements were designed and manufactured for some very specific tasks, with design following function.  The names of these tools, provided in the accompanying captions, also provide a sense of speculation: Emmet Cutter, Newcastle Draining Tool, Whimble, Garden Dibbler, Mattock or Tybill.

For some of these hand tool photographs, they evoke recent memories of planting rose bushes and ground cover. They recall the smell of warm, pugent earth, or the physical impact of digging through the dirt.  Maybe these photographs recall earlier days visiting the family at the farm, the smell of cut hay or strolling through the barns and sheds.  These tools have many memories as well, as evident of patina of age or the scars resulting from heavy use. Thus they have become part of recorded history, reflecting the hand of man, hard labor and surrogates for the land itself.

These words are from the publisher, and express my sentiments exactly, thus worth repeating;

Their handles and prongs are beautifully worn, perfectly in keeping with the hard work and dedication involved in the making of this universally admired landscape. So much of what we see in the workplace today is about distancing ourselves from the end result of our labors; these garden tools, although depicted on their own, against a pale backdrop, convey an intense sense of physical engagement.

Due to the method of photographing these tools, Pyke has created objects that are devoid of scale, even if we think we know how large they are. But many of these tools are still difficult to decipher, which allows us to look at them for what they are, and appreciate their lines, mass, shape and textures. Like the earlier work of both Penn and Avedon, these are stark and direct photographs – uncompromising.

The casebound book, with a tipped in image,  measures a nicely sized 9 x 12″, with 50 duotone beautifully printed plates on 64 pages, with an edition of 1,000 copies in 2008. The introduction was written by Fergus Garrett, Head Gardner, Great Dexter, where these tools remain.

 

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Best regards, Douglas Stockdale

April 14, 2009

Amy Stein – Domesticated

Filed under: Book Reviews, Photo Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:49 am

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Photographs are copyright of Amy Stein

A couple purchase a beautiful cactus in the desert at a roadside stand. The cactus is budding and about to bloom. They hurry home and perch it on a decorative counter in their living room. And they watch with anticipation, but something wrong seems to be happening. The cactus is starting to bulge in odd places. And suddenly it explodes in a shower of black widow spiders. Or was that scorpions? Oh yes, one of many famous Urban Legends, folk stories that have just an ounce of credibility. And taps into your primal fear.

Likewise, Amy Stein re-creates suburban stories for us, that ring true, for have we not had a chance encounter of something similar? I live off a golf course (we call the coyote freeway) adjacent to a National Forest and discovered a bobcat on our back patio, who almost seemed domesticated. It calmly sat there one early morning watching us as we drank our coffee watching it though the glass sliding doors. Then it sauntered off almost indifferently as it gently squeezed itself through our wrought iron fence and back into the “wild”. An Amy Stein moment.

There is a heighten tension in many of Stein’s photographs, as she connects us with that chance wild encounter, the one that we secretly fear and not even talk about, because that alone could make it happen.  The small girl stands at a open gate to unexpectantly confront a wild coyote, which pauses to stare back. What could happen next, and we become afraid for the girls safety.  Have we also not heard the many stories of the mayhem caused by wild animals to small children. Her photographs tap into a primal fear we have of “what if”, that anxiety we experience and dread when watching our children stray further from our protective reach. What if?

There is also another theme concurrently running through her photographs, that of the cause and effect of our presence and subsequet displacement of nature. The natural environmental footprint is dimensioned as a result of mankind’s encroachment. To survive, wildlife adapt, and to perhaps Stein’s point, to a state of near domestication. To protect our new domain, we erect fencing to control nature, to hopefully exclude wild nature from treading on our artificial domesticated nature.  We purchase token wild animals, or in this case, killer parakeets, and hold them captive for our occasional enjoyment, while just outside the window, paradoxically, is the real nature.

The balance of nature is shifting, for predictors and prey alike. And we who created the shift are caught somewhere in between. Perhaps we all have stories of an uncle or cousin who just can not help themselves, but who take full advantage of the changes, much the skilled outdoors-man who bags his quota shooting over the backyard fence. Humorous but yet like many suburban tales, with enough of a bit of truth to be taken as a true “real” story.

And last, but not least, we have changed the order of nature. That a coyote no longer recognizes the moon, but howls at the artificial light that it has now become accustomed to. Perhaps because of the ambient street lights, smog, smoke and haze, the moon no longer has a viable presence, but the wild still prevails, and a sad wail still pierces the dark.

I can relate to Stein photographs and stories, because I think that they just might be really true….maybe.

The softcover book was printed in Hong Kong, has a trim size of 10″ x 8 1/2″, with 64 pages and 25 color photographs, and published at the end of 2008 by Photolucida. The Introduction was provided by Alison Nordstrom. The book’s design was developed by Anthony de Franco, while Andy Gutrie and Mathilde Simian assisted with the editing and sequencing of the photographs, and together they have created a wonderful classical and readable presentation of Stein’s photographs, single photograph per spread, with a nice margin framing each photograph. Amy Stein was a Photolucida 2006 Critical Mass winner.

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By Douglas Stockdale

April 10, 2009

Camille Seaman – The Last Iceberg

Filed under: Book Reviews, Photo Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:09 pm

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The Last Iceberg photographs copyright of Camille Seaman

One of the long recognized traits of documentary photographs is that they are accepted as truthful recordings of what was before the lens and the resulting images take on a transparency of what is. Thus the code of ethic’s of not altering photographs, e.g. PhotoShoping them,  by the news community to maintain the continued public trust. As a result, documentary photographs have been an ongoing source of public awareness, such as the mistreatment of prisoners of war, personal tragedies, public abuses, ecological changes and courageous acts of heroism.

And occasionally a photo documentary seems to transend news into a body of work that is both beautiful as well as a scary ecological concern. That is the essence of what makes Carmille Seaman’s The Last Iceberg such a wonderful book.

Camille Seaman’s The Last Iceberg is one of the latest Photolucida books recently released from the 2006 Critical Mass competition.  This book is about the massive ecological systems that are born into the sea.  And about places where  ice once existed, and still should be, but which is now absent with the looming implications for mankind.

I feel that one of many difficult tasks with her project is to convey the size and mass of her subject, the icebergs and ice shelves that linger on our coldest frontiers. They are massive, both above and below the water line, and some have their dimensions measured in square mile. Seaman has approached them and made them accessible to help us distinguish the various traits and micro-cliamates that swirl about them.  To take us beyond the stereotypical image of the iceberg that infamouly sank the Titanic.

She can only hint at the larger mass of these structures that can not be fully seen and entirely comprehended. And yet from our collective past experience, we know that there is more to these floating ice sculptures, lurking and mysteriously. But not that far from out consciousness.

From the Introduction by Paul Hawken, he writes;

It is difficult to interpret the poignancy of Seaman’s images. This is where ice leave off and some mysterious craft begins. There is a numinous and extraordinary presence in this work, the difference between nature photography and art. Without having seen her, we see through Camille’s eyes entities in the the gloaming light. They haunt and gnaw at our sense of what is alive. There are ancestors, waterpirnts of the past, hallowed, pristine, massive, tenuous, the ultimate loners, carrying air and water that was once in the lungs and blood of sabre-toothed tigers and mastodons, a testament to the Lakota prayer honoring all our relations because these are literally our relations. What Camille has done here is make us more complex.

Seaman also reminds us that the presence of icebergs and ice itself are also environmental carnies,  capable of warning us of pending ecological changes. She documents regions where vast ice fields should be present, but are not. The tranquil sea with the traces of ice are beautiful to behold, provide us with a meditative condition. We are aware this same open sea effects the natural order and lives of other animals who were dependent upon the sheets of ice for their sustained existence.

She photographs many of her subjects in a ominous light, majestic in appearance, but yet mysterious. She has created panoramic images to hint at their size, with photographs falling of the edges of the page to further enhance the effect of the extensive size. We are given the impression that these ice shelves go on forever, limitless.

 Seaman provides us with a few images that hint at a sense of scale of what she is attempting to describe, such as the first image below. The small specs inching their way forward are people who are walking to inspect an ice locked iceberg, and in her caption we are informed that it will take them a half hour to reach their objective, some two kilometers away. The panoramic image suggests the grand scale, while the pristine white iceberg from this distance, appears like a new bride preparing to join with the open sea.

 The second photograph visually discribes the ensuing life and complexity of the iceberg as it progressively marches towards the end of its lifecycle. No longer pristine, but aged, dirty, and tired, but still serving a useful life, supporting the microsystem that has grown to depend on its existence. Yes, perhaps like us, when we have extended our lives past our youth, and now our surface contours reflect the complex features that are attained with having lived and survived perhaps a difficult life.

Regretfully, the Photolucida web site is a bit thin on information about their books, so this will provide more information about this book for you.  The Last Iceberg is published in hardcover, 10 1/4″ x 8 3/4″, with 56 pages and 25 color photographic plates. The book was printed in Hong Kong and the first edition size is estimated to be under 2,000 copies and perhaps closer to 1,500 copies. The wonderful book design was entrusted to Sarah Meskin.

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By Douglas Stockdale

The Silver is the New Black Theme Blog at WordPress.com.

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