Copyright of Amanda Marchand, 2008 courtesy Cavallo Point
At one point in her life, Amanda was living in two different cultural landscapes, San Francisco, California (telephone area code 415) while she was working on her MFA at San Francisco Art Institute and her home in Quebec, Canada (telephone area code 514). These are two very different geographical locations on either side of North America, each with its very individualistic landscape terrain. Nevertheless they share the same sky, with variations in the horizontal divide between heaven and earth.
I was initially drawn to the idea that the horizon does not exist in nature, per se, but is purely a visual construct. The work begins with an interest in horizon lines, the strange fact that what you are seeing, in terms of composition, is not physically there. The series carries forth with its own specific and formal syntax, employing dissonance and resonance as poetic logic.
The book is arranged in a series of facing photographic pairs, one side Quebec, the other San Francisco, but neither are labeled as to which is where, adding to the mystery of this series. Nevertheless, you can deduct that the endless sea is probably the Pacific Ocean, while the snow clad and barren trees are those mostly like found during a Quebec winter. These photographs are more about the emotion response to these two regions than the specifics and details.
The square format of her image does maximize the real estate of each page, with small, elegant white margins around each photograph. A nice combination of her images working within the standard Cavallo Point book design.
Marchand’s high key photographs lose their delicate tonality with the printing of this book. I was fortunate to review Marchand’s photographs in a PDF format, thus able to understand that the images in the book pale in comparison to her original intent. Her high key photographs of the various sky’s, which are so critical to appreciating this series, are washed out and vast expanses of white or light gray, without a hint of the color nuances that were present.
Marchand’s photographs on this review do not reflect the lesser quality images to be found in this book. Sadly, the poor printing of this book even impairs my ability to really provide a good review of this series.
I rarely find myself not recommending a book, but regretfully this is the case with Marchand’s 414-514. This is not a reflection on her work as it is the book’s inability to adequately represent her work. I look forward to a future book by Marchand that will provide a better platform for her photographs.
By Douglas Stockdale