Saturday, October 12, 2013

the secret life of walls by jack nelson. review by shoot the crow.

jack nelson's book the secret life of walls is a formidable collection of photographs enabling the viewer an up close glimpse at the small beauties that hide in front of our eyes while forming the backdrop to our everyday lives.
these particular beauties are the walls of chiapas, and while the buildings are ancient matriarchs, striking as a whole, it is the wrinkles and crows feet that get their due.

nelson concentrates his lens on the small details and puts the edges of the image where we would expect a wooden frame, as if his chalky colors were meant to be laid out on canvas. early photos show indian yellows, mediterranian reds and pacific blues, lapping paint chip shorelines like transmuted maps of a bygone age. these give way to more linear images no less striking, some bringing to mind mark rothko. portraits guided by the hand of man and eroded by time and nature. they are the patina of old mexico.


the author has an innate sense for sequencing, each photo is a natural prequel to the next. while all the images in this collection are beautiful and can stand alone, their real power is as a group. they beg to be seen in book form, sublime chapters forming a powerful whole.

there are many secrets here, and this is not a collection to rush through like a pack of trading cards, but to savor and return to again and again. peer long enough and you will start to unravel the secrets in the walls but there will always be another hidden away, waiting for the next viewing.

the secret life of walls is available in bound full color print here. $29.99.

and as an ebook here. for 99 cents!

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