Category: Product Reviews

Book Review: Badlands by George Webber and Robert Kroetsche

 By John Veldhoen

I am using a few different guides to say something about Rocky Mountain Books re-print of Robert Kroetsch’s novel “Badlands”, which also contains a portfolio of images of the eponymous area located on the Red Deer River, a couple hundred kilometers east of Calgary. I have been reading a series in the Financial Times by Francis Hodgson, called “A Dream Photo Collection”. I submit Webber’s first photograph in this book (pg. 276. from1987) as a consummate dream photo, it is my favorite type of picture, in the realm of ethnographic photos, a picture that falls into the category of “near documentary”. Identity slips in this picture, but more on this later…

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Book Review: The City is a Novel

 By John Veldhoen

Recently, I fell into conversation with a well-known, inventive portrait photographer over the question of individuality. The gentleman contended that people sometimes look alike, and found a correlation between morphology and character. Dangerous territory, given the history of photography, but I tend to agree with the assertion, and disagree at the same time. Solipsistic, I know, but I never think of a single iota of what I write as “objective” in the slightest, and I forgive solipsism. Dear reader, I hope you do too.

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Book Review: “Walking in the Light” and “Day for Night”

 By John Veldhoen

Reading a recent publication entitled, “Images of the Body in Architecture”, I learned of how architecture can be thought of as deriving from the Greek (and before that) word “arche”, meaning beginning (or primal work, like using an axe, for shaping wood, or incising stone), combined with “techne”, meaning crafting (by using an axe, for instance.) Stay with me… I know I am starting off in an esoteric way, but I want to get to something key, part-and-parcel with what I wrote about in the last review, regarding “having an axe to grind”, and what I called “academic” photography.

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Book Review – “Anne Collier”, “Capturing the Light” and “Last Call”

 By John Veldhoen

On the day of writing this I flubbed the origin of photography in conversation, and the who-is-who difference between Jean-Louis Daguerre, and Nicéphore Niépce, who were the original “inventors” of photography. We’ve been selling “Capturing the Light” lately, which, I am told, is a “highly readable” historical biography (I have to confess that I don’t know what “highly readable” means.

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Aperture Magazine

 By John Veldhoen

Last year I learned of the journalist Charles Bowden, as he died in September, listening to a radio obituary, and to a portion of a talk he gave regarding a book he had written about an assassin from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. I later came to read more of Bowden’s writing, especially on the subject of that place. I found the writing a corrective to the work of the novelist Roberto Bolaño, and his book 2666, which I had read nearly five years earlier.

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Book Review – Jeff Wall: With the Eye of the Mind

 By John Veldhoen

Jeff Wall is my favorite living photographer. I like his photographs because he thinks about them, they are complicated to some, but I have always found them relatively simple. I am writing this way at the outset to simplify my intentions, because I think of Wall’s aesthetic as visual ethics. 

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