➶ Distinctly American: The Photography of Wright Morris Gratis ➬ Autor Alan Trachtenberg – Andy-palmer.co.uk

Distinctly American: The Photography of Wright Morris The Images Of Wright Morris Are The Expression Of His Lifelong Quest To Capture The Soul And Mystique Of The American Midwest Here, For The First Time, The Full Emotional Impact Of His Extraordinarily Beautiful Photographs A Forceful As His Better Known Prize Winning Novels Has Been Given Free Rein This book, with its insightful reviews and well chosen photographs should be of interest not only to enthusiasts of American photography, but to everyone interested in photography in general Simplicity and sincerety seems to be among the major traits of this unassuming master. The eighty wonderful photos in this book cover sixteen years from 1934 when Morris made several trips across America He sought out the commonplace everywhere, though most of the photos here are from his beloved Midwest and mostly exteriors of weather beaten buildings They all have a stillness about them, helped by the straightforward way Morris arranged the shots, there are no crazy angles, soft focus or wastage.All the photos are beautiful compositions and in the case of the buildings they are shot face on to show textured wood and the almost abstract shapes that a roof, chimney or porch creates when a shadow falls across them The interior photos are of rooms and close ups, a dresser draw or a kitchen table with household bric a brac None of the pictures include people except for Uncle Harry entering a barn on page 113 and this might put some viewers off but Morris wanted to use the images and combined them with his writing in photo text books like The Inhabitants 1946 or Home Place 1948.I think this book, beautifully printed and designed, is an excellent reminder of a visual poet who was distinctly American FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click customer images under the cover. Growing up as Wright Morris did on the plains of Nebraska, I believe one s eye is educated by the vast grid of east west and north south roads, the mostly uninterrupted flat landscape, the big sky, and intense light and shadow I see this in many of his photographs, like House in Winter, near Lincoln, Nebraska 1940 Here a weather beaten, abandoned house stands alone on a slight rise in a snow covered field under a bright winter sun The house faces the camera, only one side visible, and in the wall there is one dark, vertical window A sagging snow fence hugs the edge of the field, and beyond it are the bare branches of a small tree Above is a hazy scrim of clouds against open sky The stark simplicity of the picture may strike some as deliberately formalist or minimalist To the eye of a plainsman, it s familiar and somehow just right The entire collection of photographs in this book, taken mostly in the 1940s, captures a deep stillness, chiefly because they reflect evidence of human activity houses, schools, cars, store fronts, grain elevators, interiors of houses , but in nearly all of them people are absent Even in a barbershop, with a variety of current calendars festooning the walls and plants growing in pots and leaning toward the sunlit windows, there is no one The chairs are empty.It s easy to oversimplify the intent of these photographs, as Alan Trachtenberg and Ralph Lieberman argue in their essays included in this book For me, they represent a way of seeing that looks for balance and rest, while acknowledging at the same time that everything must change The tension between those two things is captured ironically in the last photo, Juke Box, Southern Indiana 1950, in which a glorious, 1930s style, lighted juke box stands against a wall under two framed pictures, what looks like a ceramic flying fish, and in the upper left corner a sign reading, No Dancing This book of 80 beautifully reproduced black and white photographs includes a chronology of Wright Morris career as writer and photographer 1910 1998 and a bibliography of books by and about him A handsomely designed and elegant book Worth having.

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