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Essays by Gerry Badger
and Andy Grundberg
A Blind Spot Book
published by Princeton Architectural Press
12.75 x 11.75 inches
90 four-color photographs
Early in the morning, before breakfast and the beginning of the workday, photographer Jem Southam takes to the countryside of southwest England, visiting and revisiting the hills and dales of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset.
His lyrical photographs of these places, taken in series over long periods of time, chart the subtle evolution of this picturesque countryside as it has been transformed by both natural processes and human intervention. Ostensibly topographic and descriptive, each achieves a greater power thanks to an allegorical language that draws on our collective imagination.
Landscape Stories is the first comprehensive collection of Southam's work, drawn from three completed series: "The Pond at Upton Pyne." "The Red River," and "Rockfalls, Rivermouths, and Ponds," along with several smaller groups of pictures from series still in the making. Southam's brief narratives about each site—together with essays by Gerry Badger and Andy Grundberg, which examine Southam's work from European and American perspectives, respectively—create a rich context for viewing these remarkable, large-format photographs.
Jem Southam was born in Bristol in 1950. He currently resides with his family in Exeter and is the Head of Design: Photography Department at the Exeter School of Art and Design. Aside from The Shape of Time, Southam has produced other series of works, most recently, The Raft of Carrots (1992), small scale works which have been described as "a catalogue of chance encounters," and The Red River (1982-1987), which depicts the hard-scrapple legacy of mining in Cornwall and reflects on the mythology constructed around the perception of landscape.
Gerry Badger is a photographer, architect, and photographic critic. He has written extensively for the photographic press, and has curated a number of exhibitions, including The Photographer as Printmaker (1980) for the Arts Council of Great Britain, and Through the Looking Glass: Postwar British Photography (1989) for the Barbican Arts Centre, London. He has just completed (with Martin Parr) Volume One of The Photobook: A History, and written the text to a major monograph on the Berlin work of John Gossage, Berlin in the Time of the Wall.
Andy Grundberg is a writer, curator, teacher, and arts consultant whose work of the last 25 years has been focused on elucidating photography's crucial roles in art and visual culture. Grundberg's writings have appeared in the New York Times, as well as a number of other publications including ArtForum, Art in America, American Photo as well as Metropolitan Home and British Vogue. He has also written for a number of art books including Mike and Doug Starn, a survey of the artists' collaborative photo works and Alexey Brodovitch, a monograph on the graphic designer.