Friday, August 17, 2007

No Exit

by R.C. Baker @ Village Voice

A high sun paints a receding chevron of blacktop with light; the title of this 1938 silver print, The Road West, by Dorothea Lange, adds resonance to the flat, desolate horizon in the distance. One destination in this collection of photos traversing America is William Eggleston's Store Parking Lot—shot through a car's windshield, a pair of shoppers seems targeted by fluorescent lights that plunge in perspective, the diagonals echoed by reflections in the shiny hood and painted stripes on the macadam. Robert Frank uncovered '50s existentialism in his images of a Brylcreemed cafeteria patron somberly surveying his half-eaten meal, and a cityscape in which massive tail fins poke over the wall of an elevated parking garage—these angular flanks of Detroit steel are mirrored by vertical concrete supports that glow like a Precisionist cathedral. Reversing Eggleston's view, Lee Friedlander got in front of a pickup truck to photograph a man gripping the steering wheel, his grim expression as hollow as a rural serial killer's.


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