Monday, December 13, 2010

This is a Fabulous Book : Wilted Country

I was told to say that this is a fabulous book while in a back -room in Paris drinking champagne and laughing myself silly over the word fabulous,which is to me a thick furry word

Anyway it is near the multi-holiday season which I call Christmas and I love it because it is gift time.What better gifts than books and this one is can be wrapped easily.

I was told to say this is a fabulous book much to my dismay it is not, fabulous, it is better than that . From the poetic common sense introduction by Anthony Bannon head of George Eastman House to the sixty pictures by Roger Eberhard, and the three road stories by Benedict Wells
you get an astute observation of a part of the United States that the coasts sometime forget.That part where the pioneers settled and, the part most of us drive through thinking are we there yet.Where the endless sky and endless land captured in Roger's photographs in a harsh yet soften sunlight evoke memories with a slight droning sound.A place where things and color fades ; where people move on.These are pictures that show the human condition of going to the extreme to find a life even if it has to be abandon to stay alive.These empty buildings, fields and front yards observe over a summer driving on flat tops leaves you feeling a little sad.I have heard some talk saying that they are an indictment about the wastefulness of America.

Not to say we are not wasteful,but I think these pictures are about people all people who have a dream and then realize they have to move on I see these images as a sign of hope of what may be down the road.These photographs make statements about trying, a lush epic about a great country.We do not see the heroes,the pioneers struggling farmers,dreamers the ones who were there before just the bleached bones that stay resisting the pull of nature to finish and be done

We do not see people, we know that a few of them are still there waiting in the few shadows. I think these are successful photographs because I can put myself in this place,I am standing with hand raised above eyes shielding them to see beyond the bright blue white burnout. I can see me trying to peer into the vast space looking for someone to say hi... I could be the person glancing through a window as a stranger goes by.

Mr Eberhard makes elegant and thoughtful images and gives them life with little subtleties that require more than one visit one pass through.He has photograph what we southerners call place and told us stories without words .I do not think this book can be called fabulous,the photographs and concept are too good for that.

Wilted Country is a small run 1500 copies edited by Walter Keller available at Borders Books where they gift wrap.


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