Book Report: Missouri: Images of Nature by Charles Gurche (1990)

Book coverThis is the second monograph or collection of photography I’ve reviewed this football season, and strangely enough, neither of them really during a football game. As it happens, one of our floor lamps died this year, and I moved the one I used when watching football to the more important location by the reading chairs. So I ended up with a couple monographs out on the sofa-side table, but not enough light to really look at them. So I reviewed this book whilst in my reading chair.

It’s a collection of photos of various places in Missouri taken over the course of a year or so by a professional landscape photographer from the west coast. He groups the photos in chapters based on a photography conceit such as Color, Form, Moment, Place, Microcosm, and Light.

The photos are landscapes, but some of them are very narrow in focus (with a whole chapter on Microcosm). I don’t like the photographs of a single leaf on a lichen-covered rock nor collections of lily pads on a pond as they’re just exercises of technique in service of showing us a technique or a texture, not in showing us a scene. Or maybe I’m just flogging my new dichotomy. Sometimes, though, the different textures work together in a single scene that is a scene, though, so the photographer has some definite talent.

Still, a pleasant enough browse. It contains images of Elephant Rocks and Johnson’s Shut Ins on the eastern side of the state. When I was growing up back there, I remember the other kids in school talking about going to those places on the weekend like it was nothing. Do you know where we went on the weekends when I was growing up? No where. Well, no where like that.

So I’ve gone through two of these books already, and I have yet to watch a complete football game. I shall have to visit the book sale on half price day to resupply my monographs and photography collections in early October for sure.