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Water Being Water.
Photographs by David Goldes.
Wright State University, Dayton, 2005. 51 pp., numerous black-and-white illustrations, 8¾x12".

Well, it’s about time someone did a book on David Goldes' photographs. This elegant and intelligent volume, published to accompany an exhibition of Goldes' water photographs at Wright State University Art Galleries, brings the same careful scrutiny to his photographs that the photographer has brought to numerous subjects over the past three decades. Goldes, the recipient of numerous fellowships, including a Guggenheim, and the holder of Masters degrees in both photographic fine art (SUNY Buffalo, via Visual Studies Workshop) and molecular genetics (Harvard), makes photographs that are as clearly seen and cleanly rendered as a Blossfeldt botanical specimen. These are beautiful images, though, because of their quirky combination of functional illustration and exquisite tonality. There's a tangible sensuality in the silvery surfaces, a pleasure in both the scientific and esthetic phenomena Goldes has discovered and divulged to us. One image (Electricity and Water III, 1993) of an illuminated light bulb immersed in a tall glass of water leaves me gasping every time I see it. Another (Finding North, 1994) illustrates both magnetic fields and scientific error; one cork refuses to align itself with its six cohorts. His unique, inventive methods of telling these stories distinguishes Goldes' works from effective diagrams. To put a photographic spin on it, these are Berenice Abbott's physics illustrations as reformatted by Elliott Erwitt, Zeke Berman, and Chema Madoz. As Vince Leo suggests in his essay, Goldes is a choreographer, sculptor, and partner in these eloquent records of still lifes in motion. This volume, which includes 18 plates reproducing works from 1993 - 2003, should introduce readers to an important aspect of Goldes' work and stir interest in his other investigations. GEORGE SLADE Read Publisher's Description.

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