Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I was blown over this morning when an unexpected courier arrived with a delivery from Steidl in Germany which turned out to be a complete set of LEWIS BALTZ WORKS. Number 189 from an edition of 1100. Blown over at this unexpected generosity but even more at the substance and enormity of this set of work.

Lewis Baltz's vision has a sense of quiet inquiry, an almost forensic investigation into the nature of things, a close look at the ISness of the World. Baltz's work is an unflinching example to anybody who has even chanced to hold a camera in an attempt to make a serious picture.
The work is an antidote to the current flood of photography that pretends to be art but is only arty. Work that decorates and doesn't challenge. Work that shouts a lot but says nothing.

Baltz's photographs ask the hard questions, knowing that there are no answers. His pictures meditate on issues of control, power and influence yet find beauty amidst
desolation and destruction. Wonder amongst the common place.

And of course Baltz's pictures coalesce here into ten individual volumes. Ten works in their own right. Because Baltz is also a book maker, an author who knows the power of the book. Included are four as yet unpublished projects together with reissues of classic rarities such as Park City (1979), which just by itself is worth the price of admission.

Gerry Badger speaks of John Gossage's book THE POND as "an artist's book, a book by a photographic artist, and a work of photographic literature at the highest level". I'm sure Gerry would agree and wouldn't mind me saying that the books in LEWIS BALTZ WORKS are of the same order.

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