Photography by Ron Jude.
The Ice Plant, 2008. 80 pp., 39 color illustrations., 10½x7¾".
In his previous book, Alpine Star, photographer
and publisher Ron Jude appropriated and recast
a collection of his hometown newspaper photographs
as a cryptically humorous meditation
on the grey area between personal history
and collective memory. Jude’s latest series of
photographs, Other Nature, adds a more intimate,
diaristic strain to this line of inquiry. In this
handsome volume, two separate sets of his own
4 x 5 color pictures (made between 2001 and
2008) combine to create a subtle and uncanny
instance of what Jude has called the “slippery
threshold of narrative” in still images. Drawing
on the concerns of the New Topographics photographers,
Jude’s accounts of anonymous motel
rooms and the stranger regions of the American
landscape could, on first glance, be mistaken
for an ecological critique. But as the exterior
and interior details of these environments (floral
patterns, wood grain, sunlight) begin to merge,
interrupt and inform each other, the book
shifts into a more abstract, subjective register,
provoking reflections on photography, the visible
world and the things hovering just outside our
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