Photo of the Day

I’ve taken my time posting about seeing ‘New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape’ at SFMoma but not because it was disappointing or there wasn’t much to say. It was a fantastic show, tied with Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’ – at SFMoma last year – for the best photographic show I’ve seen. I came away with a notebook full of notations of things to remember and revisit, and thoroughly enjoyed all the photographers. The work of  Bernd and Hilla Becher and Nicholas Nixon* did lack a little something for me; everyone else blew me away. Frank Gohlke’s ‘Irrigation Canal, Albuquerque, New Mexico’ was stunning and easily my favorite piece. Robert Adams was the stand out for me overall, with Henry Wessel Jr. and John Schott close behind. I really liked many of the houses Wessel shot and they reminded me a bit of some photographs by Asger Carlson. I resisted buying the book in the museum store, I hope to find it for a little less elsewhere, but I couldn’t leave without getting something and wound up with Robert Adams’ book ‘Denver’. It was shot a little after ‘New Topographics’ was exhibited and has a similar feel and continuity to his pieces from the show. I feel much of the work that comprises the show is deceptively simple, suburban homes and parking lots, etc., but there is so much going on. Gohlke’s ‘Irrigation Canal’ for example – I did not even register what the subject matter was for a good minute, just how beautiful the light and the tones were.

* I was very happy to leave the exhibit and be met with so many other great photographs from the SFMoma collection, some new to me and some old favorites. I was thrilled to be able to see ‘The Brown Sisters’ again, they’ve not been shown for awhile, and I have always been moved by that series. I was surprised to learn the photographer was Nicholas Nixon. I guess I like his work more when he has a human subject. ‘The Brown Sisters’ may have to be an up-coming post.


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