|SIMON DENISON IMAGE & TEXT|
THOUGHTS ON LANDSCAPE
Hol Art Books, 2009
ISBN 978-1-936102-06-8 Pb
Frank Gohlke, one of the participants in the New Topographics show of 1975, has never quite enjoyed the international fame of some of his colleagues from that time, such as Shore, Adams and the Bechers, but he has nonetheless remained a significant landscape photographer, teacher and thinker, interested above all, like the other New Topographers, in the complex relationships between people and land.
This collection of articles he has written over the years, and interviews he has given, makes a compelling case for a photographic method that starts with genuine personal interest in a subject, followed by extensive analysis into why it looks as it does, and culminating in as neutral a photographic style as possible to communicate the photographer’s insights and discoveries with utmost clarity – landscape photography, in effect, as a form of geographical research as much as a vehicle for the production of art.
Gohlke is a very fine writer, indeed he has few equals in this field. Erudite but fluent, trenchant and colourful, he is reassuringly contemptuous of artworld pretensions and shallow trendiness; and in turn he offers striking observations, not only about human societies but also about the mysterious practice of photography itself.