Click to preview Color and Light photo book

A catalog produced to accompany the 2011 retrospective exhibition at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.


About the Author

Carl Burton
ctburtonjr New York, NY, USA

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jimmartin says

The thisness, not the whatness

Color and Light: Photographs 1982–2010 gives examples of five of Carl Burton’s subject concentrations: derelict vehicles, classical and urban ruins, formal and informal gardens, Utah landscapes, and seashores. Most of these photos will be shown at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in early 2011, but the book is not a catalog of the show.
Still, there are eighty-eight photos in the book, and having seen them on the wall, I can attest that the color reproduction is excellent. Thus Color and Light would be a valuable addition to a collector’s library.
No book, however, can reproduce the experience of standing in front of a large Burton photograph. One reason is that these pictures are so very large: some are five feet wide. The picture fills your visual field, suggesting that the foreground objects are close, so you expect to see them foreshortened. But their proportions are just as true as those in the background. You step away, then close again, but you can’t gain any secure sense of where you’re standing in the scene.
Some objects in Burton’s photos are not immediately recognized: for a moment you wonder “What is that thing?” This momentary mystery is not due to any freakishness on the part of the object, much less to any distortion or blurriness in the photo. Quite the opposite, it’s due to Burton’s obsessive fidelity to detail. From side to side and top to bottom, every object in the picture, all the details, and all the details of the details are given with pinpoint definition, which brings out the thisness, not the whatness of things. You see particular things in their very places and particular places with the very things in them, not essences, which you’d recognize automatically.
--Jim Martin

posted at 06:49am Dec 18 PST

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