Sunday, 23 April 2017

Landscape man

A beautifully produced book celebrating the work of Lewis Baltz and published in conjunction with the Fundacion MAPFRE gallery in Madrid, he helped with the planning of the show but unfortunately died in 2014 so this is the first retrospective of his photographic creativity.

The book's format is divided into historical sections relating to Baltz's work, though the first The Prototype Works: 1967-76 displays eleven general photos but the rest of the pages present a sampling from each book or exhibition, for example The new industrial parks near Irvine, California, 1974 has seventeen of the original fifty-one, San Quentin Point, 1981-83 twelve of fifty-eight, Candlestick Point, 1987-89 seventeen of eighty-four, Sites of technology 1988-91 eleven of fifty-three (these are all color photos). The last page of each photo section has thumbnails of all the originals.

There is an interesting thirteen page interview (published in 2014) with Baltz and David Campany and this is placed between the topographic photo sections and the remaining six. These have a much broader scope than the changing landscape in the west, for which he is rightly famous and look at politics, surveillance and (I thought oddly) murder with Baltz as a writer. There are also examples of his video work.

The book has 620 photos (this includes the several thumbnail sections) and I thought it was an excellent overview of a photographer who made a huge contribution to American art in the last century.

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