Utopia/dystopia: Geoffrey James
National Gallery of Canada, 2008 - Photography - 176 pages
Geoffrey James has been making photographs since the early 1970s, when he began photographing gardens. His first body of garden photographs, black and white prints made with a modified Kodak panoramic camera, expressed classical notions of beauty, revealing the geometry and underlying structure of the formal garden as well as evoking a quiet passion for the great landscaping schemes and natural sanctuaries of the past.From the tranquility of the Roman Campagna to the desolate demarcations of the U.S./Mexican borders, James's photographs reverberate with a sense of history but are solidly rooted in the present. In a more recent series of photographs about the built environment of Toronto, James pays particular attention to the way that light carves out details of architecture and delineates texture, whether it be tarpaper, glass, wood or stone. Recognized as one of North America's most eloquent interpreter of landscapes, Geoffrey James has paid particular attention to the way in which nature and culture intersect. While not concerned with Romantic notions of "the ruin", James's photographs do suggest a fall from grace.
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