Cover image for Poetics of place
Title:
Poetics of place
Author:
Geesaman, Lynn, 1938-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Umbrage Editions, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
78 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 32 cm
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781884167010
Format :
Book

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TR660.5 .G44 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
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Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Three new books pair fine writers and fine photographers, though the photos are always the main concern. Franck prefers human subjects in settings normal for them (not in photographic studios) and in action more often than at rest. In the correspondence with Franck that precedes the pictures, art critic and novelist John Berger says he sees futurity in many of her pictures, and many Franck pictures, such as that of two children just leaping from a wall and nowhere near the ground, imply successive events. Berger sees Franck's work as more dynamic than Cartier-Bresson's, though resembling his in sympathy for ordinary and poor people. Berger doesn't cite Helen Leavitt, whose pictures of children are yet more kinetic and whose fascination with play Franck seems to share; at any rate, play seems the animating spirit of Franck's pictures of children, her portraits of artists and performers, and even her sea, cloud, and landscape images. That she is the kind of black-and-white master whose pictures register as naturally as color adds to the satisfaction of perusing them. Geesaman works in monochrome, too, but strives "to idealize rather than to document" her subject matter of formal gardens and other designed landscapes, most of them in western Europe, and the ornamental and functional buildings in them. She focuses, exposes, and prints to obtain a velvety appearance and tones the images a light sepia; "golden dreams" accurately characterizes these pictures. They look as though the places they show might evanesce, which is what novelist Jamaica Kinkaid imagines in her meditative preface. McBride's presentation of sexuality for children, Show Me, was banned in some American communities 25 years ago. His new collection of equal numbers of black-and-white and color photos from throughout his 40-year career might have been banned then, too, for it features several nudes, mostly of 10-to 16-year-old boys. Many more clothed bodies appear, and they, too, are mostly boys, for boys' transition from childhood to adulthood is the book's theme. In the foreword, translator and avant-garde fiction writer Guy Davenport yammers about censoriousness toward nudity more than he discusses the pictures. After his spiel, McBride's images of students in a private school in Germany, a 15-year-old matador in action, young Buddhists in India, and a German street kid surprise with their reportorial freshness, and those of boys who modeled for McBride's sculptures seem as aesthetically aloof and emotionally candid as the statues themselves, some of which appear in pictures of McBride's studio. Davenport's best observation turns out to be comparing McBride to Norman Rockwell. --Ray Olson