Working the Line.
Photographs by David Taylor. Essays by Hannah Frieser and Luis Alberto Urrea.
Radius Books, 2010. 148 pp., 120 color illustrations, 48 page accordion fold, 11x10½".
In 2008, David Taylor received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his ongoing examination of the U.S.-Mexico border. His investigation is organized around the documentation of a series of 276 obelisks that mark the international boundary as it extends from El Paso/Juarez to San Diego/Tijuana. These monuments - striking objects situated in impossibly gorgeous and difficult terrain - were installed between the years of 1892 and 1895.
In the process of work, Taylor earned remarkable access to U.S. Border Patrol facilities, agents and routine operations. Patrol agents often refer to their job in the field as 'line work' which is an apt description of Taylor's own time as he documented the obelisks. Being on the 'line' has given Taylor a unique view into overlapping issues of border security, human and drug smuggling, the continuing construction of the border fence and its impact on the land.
This book captures the complexity of the terrain, the politics, and the human dynamics involved. While the images are documentary in nature, they are so formally and visually compelling that the work ultimately transcends genre.
Read David Ondrik's review of Working the Line in photo-eye Magazine.
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