The color of empty spaces,
This review is from: Southwest U.S.A. (Hardcover)I recently reviewed a photo book of the Southwest (Neon Mesa ISBN 9781593730680) and mentioned that I had four similar books on this area of the Nation. Of the five I much prefer Gerd Kittel's take on this very photographic part of the country. He manages to capture the natural landscape (and of course the hand of man within this landscape with the obligatory derelict autos) isolated buildings, small towns and just a few of cities but it is basically the wide open vistas that come across most strongly.
Several of the photos have a definite horizontal layered feel: sky at the top, focal point middle and a vegetation or earth bottom. This format throws up some amazing cloud formations. Kittel also seems to have a natural flair for framing: buildings and objects in the middle distance are not cropped but sit beautifully with their environment providing natural sides to the photo.
There is a sort of flow to the photos. The first few are straightforward daybreak and morning landscapes then a mixture of the land with and without the presence human activity and the last twenty or so shots, taken in the evening, of street scenes, a gas station, interiors of motels, a pool hall or diner. Interestingly these interior photos all have a yellow cast from artificial lights which contrasts nicely with the clarity of light in the landscape images.
The book, published in 1986, has eighty photos, one to a page and mostly with generous margins; a few are whole page and printed with a 175 screen on a reasonable matt art. I was so impressed with Kittel's photos of the Southwest that I bought his next book: A New England Autumn (ISBN 0500541264) published in 1987. Both titles are full of wonderful images that truly reflect their titles.