Monday, July 30, 2007

Frank Gohlke

Via a post over on the Large Format Photography Forum I learnt that Frank Gohlke now has a website up (it's interesting how many well known photogs don't - too busy with commissions I guess...).

Gohlke is one of the founding fathers of the New Topographics movement and has gone on to produce bodies of work from the Mount St. Helens eruption, to tornado aftermath in Wichita Falls, Texas, to gentle photographs of the Sudbury River all with his own particular and unique take on the American landscape.

I've always likes the Mt. St Helens pictures, but I'm glad he has some of the Sudbury River pictures here (all done in 5x7 colour I think). This is (or at least was) his own neighbourhood, and they a really a labour of love. I have a copy of the small paperback of the project, and I think you can still find it cheaply. It's well worth hunting out.

Living Water is about a place and about Place, about a river and about Rivers. Its subject is the Sudbury River in eastern Massachusetts, but the river is bound up in something larger and less tangible: the process of discovery and creation through which we come to be at home in our particular parts of the world. I moved to Massachusetts from the Midwest in 1987. Disoriented and ill-at-ease in the crowded spaces of the Northeast, I began photographing a small river near my home. What started as a stay against confusion quickly became my chief preoccupation, as I penetrated the dense growth of human and natural history fed by the moving water.

(btw, needless to say that the originating post above generated the usual he said/she said argument as the Guild Photographers claim "this guy's work is crap, boring, didn't he ever learn the rule of thirds" from their pedestal built of Weston's and Adams' bones, while the Art Photographers cry foul from their ivory tower "you just don't get it, open your eyes and your minds, don't you see this guy is one of our heroes" - which, even though I find it hard to resist, gets a little tiresome. Just don't show me one more fracking Spanish Colonial Cloister full of light and shadow...)

Oh, and Gohlke's website - it kinda sucks (okay, maybe that's pot and kettle time), but the layout crosses the line from clean and simple to boring, and the image reproduction just doesn't quite work. Which I put down to the outfit that built it for him.
I also note Gohlke's printing some stuff via inkjet - based on the website production values, I really hope he's got himself a good printer - much of his stuff would look great as really great pigment ink prints.


Luis said...

Gohlke is one of the great present-day American landscapists.
He jettisoned the spectacular, the decorative and reflexively "beautiful" long ago. His eclectic formalism and its wide range are unusual, especially when coupled with his consistent, few core themes.

--- Luis

Anonymous said...

If you get a chance, check out his spread (with Joel Sternfeld, of all people) in BlindSpot a few years back. I think the project was called Landscape of Longing, or something like that. Very nice.

artstarz said...

Going back to the landscape post a while ago -landscape, history etc... - the Museum of Contemp. Photo. is having a show on this topic.

With Sternfeld, Nolfolk, New Catalogue, Anna Shteynshleyer and others.


artstarz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
artstarz said...

Sorry the link got cut off - the show is called Loaded Landscape