Sunday, 17 May 2015

Capturing everyday surfaces

An example of Nathan Lyons rather overblown writing style.

The book is the second helping of Phil Bergerson's fascinating photos showing handmade and commercially produced signage in faded urban areas across the US. The previous title (Shards of America ISBN 1593720106) had sixty spreads revealing shop windows, building and walls, this newer book extends the theme by including several commonplace landscapes.

Bergerson has a knack of finding visual conundrums in the everyday city or town environment, the sort of thing no one notices until you see them in these photos. One of the things I really like about his work is the evenness of color, whether it is a mid-distance landscape or a close up of a scrap of paper stuck on a window. Combine this with some very intriguing compositions and this becomes a book of photos that delivers on every return visit.

The layout follows the successful photo book format: all of them are eight inches square, centred on the page with generous margins, a location and date caption complete each page. The only downside, in my opinion, are the two essays front and back of the photo section. Neither really considers Bergerson's work, Margaret Atwood writes about debt and wealth while 'Sequencing' by Nathan Lyons is a remarkable elitist written essay on framing and sequence in photography. Fortunately the essays only occupy nine pages of the 158 in the book.

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