On the road
These sixty photos were taken between 2001 and 2011 on road trips across the rather desolate southwest USA. Clearly a favourite for photographers like Eggleston, Sternfeld and Shore who are mentioned in a discussion between Martensen and Magnus Berger at the start of the book. Another piece by Jason Farago mentions that you'll not see any of the natural spectacle associated with the area and this is where I think many of the photos fail. Too many could have been taken anywhere though many do have that unique aspect: blue skies and wide spaces.
It is unfortunate that several photos really don't seem worth including: a pillow resting on a window ledge in an otherwise bare room; a close-up of some insulation material revealed after a ceiling tile had been removed; two photos (facing each other) looking out of dirty windows; an out of focus close-up of a car's rear red light; a close-up of a window with vertical blinds. Why these were included in just sixty photos seems, to me, a serious editorial mistake.
There, of course, some really great photos. A white fence entwined with tree, a couple of chairs sitting in some scrub with rusty fencing, an empty motel pool (in the style of Bennett Fitts lovely 'No lifeguard on duty book') a head-on shot of the front of a Peterbilt truck. These photos really stand out amongst the more mediocre ones.
The books production is excellent as one would expect from art book publishers Damiani. An excellent matt art for the photos and printed with a 250 screen (or maybe 300). I think a more a more energetic and focussed look at the region is revealed in the two photo books by Peter Brown: 'On the Plains' and 'West of Last Chance'.
With so few photos in the book was this one worth including?
An out of focus rear stop light.
An interior showing nothing in particular.
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