a. Sameness points to difference.
a. Robert Adams’ work aimed to state the problems he saw in the landscape. What better way to do so than through the potent clarity found in his photographs.
b. “Life is ‘reassuring’ when it repeats itself, freed from the wild variations of local cultural difference.” - David Bates
I’ve never been able to articulate my anxiety towards holiday resorts until reading that sentence. Bates was talking about stock photography, an industry of omnipresent comfort, but the same ideas are found in holiday resorts.
Holiday resorts aren’t bad. On the contrary, they are built to ensure pleasure. Awake or dreaming, needs and desires are only a digit away. Familiarity and novelty are exquisitely balanced. Comfort can be found everywhere. Yet it is the surreal proximity to comfort that gives it its sterile sheen. If you don’t enjoy the local cuisine you’ve come so far to taste, there is always an authentic wood-fired pizza behind you. The pleasing curves of the swimming pool mimic the lagoon only a mile away, but the pool guarantees an immaculate experience through a smart mix of chlorine and labour. A plethora of activities is compressed into walking distance as adventure is repackaged into convenience. And whilst the infinity pool overlooking the sea grants you the perspective of being at one with the water, there is no need to wash away the salt.
a. Ed Ruscha finished the cover of Twentysix Gasoline Stations before a single photograph was made.
b. Joachim Brohm’s photograph made in Bochum in 1983 speaks of a landscape in all its complexities; social, technological, economical, environmental, political and topographical.
a. William Christenberry talked about his photographs with a rare tenderness. Teeming with warmth and humanity.
a. There’s a photograph in Teju Cole’s Blind Spot looking out of the rear passenger window of a taxi. Our gaze is led through the windows of the taxi in the next lane to meet the returning gaze of a taxi driver in the lane suceeding that one. It is a piercing, transient meeting.
Yet that moment is so powerful only partially because of the actual collision of awareness. What makes the exchange so potent are the four window frames – the four focal planes – that our vision has to reach through before settling on the taxi driver’s face, each one smaller than the last. Because of this contraction, we are made acutely aware of the fortuitous nature of this event. It is as if there is a hurdle track ahead of us, but one that is only aligned for an instant. Distance and serendipity realised in a few taxi windows.
a. Stephen Shore. Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, July 13, 1974. 1974. Dualities rendered in perfect clarity. The converging lines of muddied brick and shadow bookended by a landscape unsullied by modernity. Even the vertical achievements of commercialism appear meagre desires set against the boundless sky beyond.
a. Takashi Homma’s Tokyo Suburbia is wrought with the uneasy banality of suburbia – one of manicured lawns, sterile facades and vacant dead ends.
a. “those goddamned stories with a beginning and an end.”
a. Murakami loves cigarettes. Writing about them so much must be like smoking by proxy for him.
a. Jason Fulford sounds like Edward Norton. A little anyway. Especially if close your eyes. I just listened to a talk of his and found myself thinking of one of Tyler Durden’s pensive, seductive monologues. Fulford and Durden both have the same measured theatrical tone. It’s as if it’s been practiced a thousand times. But has it been? I can’t quite tell. I like that.
b. Looking at Dear Bill Gates and thinking how perfectly precariousness and stability are balanced.