Photographs by Mark Steinmetz. Text by Janet Lembke.
The Jargon Society, Winston-Salem, 2001.
45 duotone illustrations, 9x10".
Mark Steinmetz, a photographer still in his thirties, is a wonderful printmaker with a very unique, sombre, concentrated vision. 'No two eyes see the same world,' says a Fujutsu tv commercial. (I don't know who first said that, but they got it right.)
Who has ever seen Italian olive trees this well? For the past five years or so Mark Steinmetz has been teaching in the summer photography program of the Art Department of the University of Georgia, at Cortona, in Tuscany. Tuscan Trees offers a portfolio of some of his most luminous findings. The shimmering animation of his olive trees is of an order that suggest what Aaron Siskind achieved with his anthropomorphic rocks and walls, surely an epiphany in photographic history.
To add even more to this small and lovely book, we asked Janet Lembke, one of our finest writers, to respond immediately and directly to the images. She is both a naturalist and an authority on the ancient poetry of Greece and Rome. The results are, simply, letter-perfect.... Annie Proulx says this: 'Lembke's writing tacks between three points: the stuff of her late-twentieth-century life; the tangle of creature and plant in every dimension of tide and river flow; and the haunting, connection wires of mythos that still knot us to the ancient beginnings.'
Emerson; 'The air is full of sounds; the sky, of tokens; the ground is all memoranda and signatures; and every object covered with hints...' So, just who is an olive tree and who ain't? - Jonathan Williams, publisher.