Book Review: American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

Art deserves better

I think it's a pity that as more people discover this rather under-appreciated photographer they will have to rely on 'American Horizons' as the only monograph available because the reproduction of the eighty-five plates is just not good enough. This became evident when I compared several of Sinsabaugh's photos in this book with the same ones in Chicago Photographs. In particular 'Chicago landscape #214' appears in CP as a bright, clean image full of precise and fascinating detail, in AH it is a very subdued photo and in comparison with the CP one hardly worth looking at. The other photos in both books make me believe that the majority of images in 'American Horizons' are also too dark and grey.

The explanation for the poor quality can be put down to the coarse screen used. Though the photos are tritones they are, rather amazingly, only printed with a 150 screen, hardly much more than the screen used in most consumer magazines. 'Chicago photographs', also tritones, use a 300 screen and it shows. Sinsabaugh used a large plate camera to capture every detail and it seems a nonsense to print his photos in a hopelessly inadequate screen, it just can't reproduce the detail that he took so much trouble to capture.

Despite the poor reproduction 'American horizons' does deliver a huge amount of information on Sinsabaugh. The first thirty-four pages have an excellent illustrated essay from photo historian Keith Davis. After the plates there thirty-seven pages of Notes concerning the photos, a Concordance to the Art Sinsabaugh Archive at Indiana Uni art museum, Bibliography and finally an Index.

Art Sinsabaugh can perhaps be considered as the first of the New Topographic photographers with a vision of the central states he shares with Wright Morris. It's a shame the photos in this book don't display his brilliant creativity to the best advantage.

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
Title spread.

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
'Chicago photographs' on top. Even at this small size you can see the difference in 'Chicago landscape #214'.

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
'Chicago photographs' on top.

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
'Chicago photographs' on top.

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
'Chicago photographs' on top.

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh
The back pages have a wealth of technical detail about the photos and an Index.

Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.

If you buy from any links on the blog, I get a little commission that helps me get more art books to feature.

This book is available at:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

Tags: 

Comment


comments powered by Disqus