Thursday, October 16, 2008

John Gossage talks about books on photo-eye

I came across this conversation between John Gossage and Jeffrey Ladd in the magazine section of photo-eye's site...

What I read reinforced my view about how much I like John's thinking, not to mention his work. And of course how special it is that he and Alec Soth are coming here in January for the AUT St PAUL Street gallery workshop.
Clearly I'm not the only one who has this view as the workshop was fully subscribed with 48 hours of it being made public.

Here is the start of John and Jeffrey's conversation.

Jeffrey Ladd: I'll ask the silliest question first. With all the books that you are surrounded by, if you had to pick one — if you had to pick just one of your favorite children which would it be?

John Gossage: A funny way to answer that is that the most classic ones — ones that have meant the most to me — are pretty much ingrained into my brain now. So I really don't need to carry Robert Frank's The Americans with me to our desert island because I can pretty much go through it page by page in my head. But the ones that are most special are all of the classics.

Jeff: The usual suspects.

John: Exactly. I would probably pick something I felt I hadn't grasped yet. Again it's one of those hard to answer questions except in a glib way — I take one of my own books of course. (laughter) Probably at this moment, I would take Shimmer of Possibility because I own it and I've looked at it some, but I think it has more to offer. Especially in how Paul is dealing with the pictures and everything and I don't have it addressed to memory. I think it's a serious work and I would like to understand it more.

Jeff: That gets into my next question of what are the contemporary book works that you consider to be important in the past few years.

John: I'll turn the question a little - one of the things that Martin Parr and Gerry Badger and I would talk about during their extended process of editing the Photobook History was about doing a section based on the major bookmakers like Ed Ruscha and these people who pull off things that engage me. Where the next book always adds something to change the rules of the game. I am always interested in seeing what Christian Boltanski does, he's one of the major book artists - not a photographer per se - but who would ever thought of doing the Scratch book that he did where you have to scratch everything off like a lottery ticket? He's continually thinking out of the box and that always educates me.

Image: Behind the Japanese embassy, Kobisstre 1989 from Berlin in the time of the wall.

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