I was really looking forward digging into abstracts of Minor White, since I have not seen any of his work before. A little disappointment came when I was able to find only a single photography book in local libraries: “Life is Like a Cinema of Stills” by Filippo Maggia.
Yet, the book proved to be quite comprehensive, apparently from an exhibit of Minor white work gathered by Civic Gallery of Modena. It contained several bodies of wirk as well as assortment of single photographs.
The frist two portfolios: “Fourth sequence” and “Sequence 17” really took my breath away. It was totally not what I expected, still remembering beautiful intimate landscapes by Elliot Porter, many of abstract quality and yet still recognizable. The rocks photographed by Minro White in those two portfolios are so totally different from Elliot Porter’s work. The focus of the images is only on the shape, lines, contrast of color and light. Looking at it, you completely loose interest in what was photographed, you just take it for what it is now. In this sense, his work reminds me more of abstract paintings than photography. And then, in between those abstract photographs, there is an occasional human figure, with same rock as a background.
“Song without words”, another finished body of work, is probably my favorite. Water is my element, and just observing light shimmering on the waves fascinates me.
Among single images, those taken in Capitol Reef really drew my attention. Again, these are not your typical landscapes from the region, they are abstract of shape and light, and in fact, could have been taken anywhere. And there is my favorite, called “Found Sculpture”, randomly shaped by nature rocks, which look like couple sculptured by Rodin. Further down, “Window, Easter Sunday” and “Windowsill Daydreaming” are great examples that you can find great photographs everywhere, you just need to look around you.
It was really inspiring to go through pages of “Life is Like a Cinema of Stills”, if only to discover another way to look at nature photography, even more abstract.
Previously in the “Exploring the masters” series I written about:
- Elliot Erwitt’s dogs
- “Contact Sheet”
- Street photography by Vivian Maier
- “Looking at photographs” with John Sharkowski
- Streets of New York by Alfred Stieglitz
- Nature’s intimate portraits by Eliot Porter
- Mitch Dobrowner’s dramatic skyscapes
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