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Book Review: Joachim Brohm - Ohio

The state of Ohio

These forty color plates were taken Brohm during 1983/84 while studying for an MA at Ohio State University on a Fulbright Scholarship. Like European photographers from Robert Frank (on a Guggenheim fellowship) and his `The Americans' onwards Brohm zooms in on the urban landscape and its rich selection of everyday Americana: neon signs, street furniture; utility poles; store fronts; autos and the general run-down, yet colorful, state of many cities. The photos here were mostly taken in Columbus, Ohio and all except two are exterior shots.

I thought it a pity that there were only forty photos because with more the few also-rans wouldn't be so noticeable. One of these is the second to last in the book, a shot taken from inside a car looking at a huge water tower which cut off by the car`s windscreen. The cropping and out of focus rear-view mirror just make it look odd. Some photos really grabbed me though: page fifty-four has a shot looking down a street with the detail vanishing into the distance or page sixty-five of a street corner with pedestrians waiting to cross with street furniture framing shop signs on the opposite side of the street. The two interior photos are interesting because they seem very reminiscent of William Eggleston's interiors with their saturated color. Thomas Weski in the book's intro refers to Eggleston and 'his snapshot style and a 'painterly' interpretation of color'.

The Imprint page says the photos have been scanned from color prints which would explain the slight softness and lack of really solid blacks throughout the pages. They are one to a spread and printed with a 175 screen on a reasonable matt art. The book is the usual high production one would expect from Steidl.

'Ohio' will join my slowly expanding shelf of fascinating photo books that take a wry look at the man-made American landscape in recent decades.

Joachim Brohm - Ohio is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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Brohm's shot (right) of the street corner reminded me of Stephen Shore's El Paso Street from July, 1975.

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One of the also-rans that I didn't worked at all.

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Title spread.

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A mini Gregory Crewdson tableau?

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Perhaps my favoirite in the book.

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Some other man-made America landscape books I've enjoyed.

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