Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Photographing Walls

Limestone Field
Inis Meáin, Ireland
5 July 2005 

While I've always maintained that it's not difficult to take good photographs of good stone walls, I admit that it requires an expert to take an exceptional one. I'd love to be able to capture in a photograph the essence of a wall that has caught my attention. At best I take a nice picture. I rarely probe the inner meaning of the wall I'm seeing and seldom get any closer to the answer of why walls are so intriguing or why they fascinate so many other people too. One who looks at a photo of a wall might ask, 'they are merely a lot of rocks piled carefully, surely'?

An excellent hardcover book on dry stone walls will be coming out next month with images that approach the visual connectivity and focused content we lovers of walls are looking for. Never mind the sheer variety of examples and vast scope of the book, the detail and content of what must be over a hundred black and white photographs allows the reader to delve into a selection of structural solutions to the age old agricultural challenge as to how stones may be used pragmatically. The images are a powerful resource into this illusive subject.

The underlying impression I got from looking over an advance copy of this wonderful book was a feeling that something very special is going on here. The photos in Mariana Cook's Personal Boundaries, are of stone walls that many of us have seen before but through her eyes they take on a new artistic meaning.

The book is coming out this July. While the title has not yet been released ( it can be pre-ordered) I am pleased to announce that Mariana will be coming to this year's Roctoberfest to give a special presentation on the subject of this her newest book of photography. Signed copies will be available at our Canadian Dry Stone Walling Festival which is run annually during the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend.

More on this subject tomorrow .