Thursday, June 24, 2010
John Gossage reports from Monday's ONE DAY front line in Washington, telling me that he started the day in Baltimore where temperatures simmered at 35 deg and later he went home to Washington to shoot some more. Here is one picture he sent me, can't wait to see the rest.
For fans of his books it's great to see that John's first long awaited Steidl book has now been published. The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler/Map of Babylon are really two books in one. The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler, the narrative, while not autobiographical, is about a neighborhood in which he lives; one that is singular in the United States. At the same time provincial and international, it is a neighborhood populated by ambassadorial residences, embassies and the lavish private homes of those who are in positions of power and influence in Washington, D.C. Gossage began this project with the arrival of a new neighbor, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and made more than a year's cycle of seasons. The streets, cars, homes and yards of this neighborhood are photographed on perfect spring or autumn days, with sparklingly clear blue skies and flowers or foliage accenting the order. During that same year, Gossage made The Map of Babylon, photographing digitally from Washington, D.C. to Germany, China and places in-between. This look away, to places beyond the immediate and local, is a classic exploration of the particulars of the outside world.
And due for release in September, Aperture will republish John's classic book The Pond.
Considered a groundbreaking book when first published in 1985, John Gossage's The Pond remains one of the most important photobooks of the medium. As Gerry Badger, co-author of The Photobook: A History, Volumes I and II, asserts, "Adams, Shore, Baltz--all the New Topographics photographers made great books, but none are better than The Pond." Consisting of photographs taken around and away from a pond situated in an unkempt wooded area at the edge of a city, the volume presents a considered foil to Henry Thoreau's stay at Walden. The photographs in The Pond do not aspire to the "beauty" of classical landscapes in the tradition of Ansel Adams. Instead, they reveal a subtle vision of reality on the border between man and nature. Gossage depicts nature in full splendor, yet at odds with both itself and man, but his tone is ambiguous and evocative rather than didactic. Robert Adams described the work as "believable because it includes evidence of man's darkness of spirit, memorable because of the intense fondness [Gossage] shows for the remains of the natural world."
Then of course there is the Gossage / Soth collaboration, The Auckland Project, which I mentioned in a previous post.
John has had a busy year!
Posted by Harvey's Blog at 8:32 AM