Photographs by George Tice.
Photography by George Tice.
David R Godine - Special Sales, Boston, 2008. 144 pp., 107 quadtone illustrations., 9x10".
For more than five decades, George Tice has been photographing the landscape of America, and a number of his images have become icons of their time and field. But no other state has held for him the particular affection of Maine – its rockbound coastline, its precarious and isolated islands, its independent and hardworking people. And unmistakably, there is the sense of coming from almost another time and place, and, in the last decade or so, of a landscape transforming itself all too quickly into the conventional palette of the twenty-first century – of its fast-food predictabilities, strip mall excrescences, and the anonymous tangles of the internet highway.
This book makes its focus the Maine we all want to remember and the coastline we perhaps visited at one time and grew to love. Tice, for the past five years, has concentrated on assembling and arranging his favorite photographs. The result is comparable in its scope to Szarkowski's portrait of Minnesota and in sympathy to Evans's elegy to Alabama. In all, 107 quadtone photographs, from the fogs off Eastport to the lobster boats off Monhegan, from the grain elevators of Portland to the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake. The emphasis is on the coast, on its ports, its people, its geography, and its architecture. And this seems excusable: for most of us, Maine is its coast. It predominates in our mind's eye, in the popular imagination, and in the images featured in this book.
Still, the real rationale of a book like this is to validate the vision and the work of an artist, and this ambition is more than justified by page after page of dauntingly beautiful images, carefully arranged and faultlessly printed. If Maine is a state you hold dear, this is a book that says it all.