am 8. Februar 2005
I first came across Jim Wark's work in 'A field guide to sprawl' by Dolores Hayden (ISBN 0393731251) where fifty-one of his aerial photos were used to decode the American man-made landscape. This latest work is a glorious celebration of the Nation, man-made and natural, in a thick chunky book and for the price this has to be a bargain.
The nine chapters cover it all, cities, rock formations, rivers, mountains, deserts (hot and cold) farming, coastlines, the land in color and finally, admittedly an unusual choice, mining. This last chapter though provides some amazing colour images, it's hard to believe the abstract looking colour of the potash evaporation ponds near Moab, Utah or the red of the water created by iron ore in Marquette County, Michigan. I particularly liked the sixty-nines pages devoted to agriculture, plenty of examples of contour farming (more abstract art shapes) and those amazing circular fields that use pivot watering systems, you just can't appreciate these when seen at ground level. Twenty-two cities are covered over 140 pages and even here there is something fresh to see, for instance, an amazing shot of the Chrysler Building (actually worthy of a poster) or the Westin in Atlanta.
If I have a criticism it is that many of the photos could have been bigger. This occurs on many spreads where there is a whole page photo and on the opposite page the captions a single photo surrounded by just too much white or black space. Apart from that I think this a stunning book of over five hundred aerial photographs by Jim Wark, he clearly has an eye for the floor of the sky.