In This Dark Wood.
By Elisabeth Tonnard.
J&L Books, 2013. 196 pp., 90 black & white illustrations, 6x9".
Elisabeth Tonnard’s In This Dark Wood is a study of urban alienation in America. In a haunting, modern-gothic style, it pairs images of people walking alone in nighttime city streets with 90 different English translations, collected by Tonnard, of the famous first lines of Dante’s Inferno: “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita / mi ritrovai per una selva oscura / ché la diritta via era smarrita.” (“In the middle of the journey of our life / I found myself in a dark wood / for the straight way was lost”). The images were selected from the Joseph Selle collection at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, which contains over a million negatives from a company of street photographers who worked in San Francisco from the 1940s to the 70s. This edition is a reprint of a work originally self-published in 2008.
Read the review by George Slade