In photography, there are those who go wide and others go deep. James Evans is a photographer who has gone very deep into a region of Texas known as the Big Bend and found this place to be his muse of which he has courted for over twenty years.
This is a book that explores the many facets of what constitutes a place; a resulting diverse mash-up of landscapes, nightscapes, portraits, insects, reptiles, nudes, social gatherings and food, with Evans strongest emphasis on the exploration of the landscape.
This photographic body of work is not organized by subject, with what appears as a random sequencing of the color and black & white photographs. I have a sense that this is another way to investigate and explain this region, that there is a randomness and underlying serendipity to the life of this region. The folks here do not need a lot of organization to live, it just comes naturally.
As Evans states in his Afterword, “Living in a small community is like living with a big family. I witness the give-and-take of life on a personal level. No one escapes the things that make up the human condition; in fact, they only seem more apparent here because there is no anonymity, and I witness people’s lives unfold for good and bad day to day.”
This dense book is a wonderfully large hardcover with dust jacket, with both the black and white as well as the color images very nicely printed. It seems to me that this book’s vertical format was an odd selection for a photographer who worked either in a square format or a very wide panoramic. One of the interior panorama plates is a huge double gate fold, but the wide photographs were either full bleed across the two page spread or a strip of wide ribbon across the two-page spread. Personally, I believe that a horizontal book format might have provided more justice for his body of work.
There is an extensive quantity of two-page spread photographs, but for my liking there is too much lost in the gutters, as the binding does not open sufficiently to reveal all of the content.