Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Richard Misrach's "On the Beach" Series

It is easy to forget the power of 8x10 film living in a digital age. And then there is Richard Misrach's "On the Beach" series. This is the result of thousands of shots at 30 dollars a shot. "Untitled 166-02" 2002 has the spontaneity of a photograph made with a handheld digital camera but the clarity of what one might see if a 900 megapixel camera existed. Where the people are placed in the frame appears to be a product of the expertise he has acquired having spent many years shooting in the desert with an 8x10 view camera. The extreme aerial perspective makes the people appear dream like. The very large prints are critical to seeing the details of the people - expressions, body type, clothing and activities are crystal clear. This is abundantly apparent in "Untitled 1132-04" 2004. The people are in large neutral spaces of sand, water, or a combination of the 2 - never sky. When I was in the gallery that contained only 3 prints - areas showing only water without people - under 3 types of lighting - other visitors passed thru quickly to see more photographs of people. "Untitled 642-02" 2002 with just a tiny pair of legs in a huge area of water clearly demonstrates what a great job Misrach has done on this project. The book is disappointing. Printed very large; very high quality - the book pales next to the actual prints - the images are much too small. Misrach is represented by Fraenkel Gallery and Pace/MacGill Gallery


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