Collected Works – Volume I: Thirty Years of Photography 1987-2017
In Deanna Miesch Collected Works, there are two hundred thirty photographs. All are taken with film cameras and span a period of thirty years: 1987-2017. Ideally, a review would consider each photograph on its own merits. The photos are arraigned roughly in chronological order and contain both black and white and color shots. The artist uses an old typewriter to label a lot of the photos, and that old font adds to the historicity of the shots, visually informing the prints are on film, not digital or retouched.
The black and white shots are in strong side light and shadow or front-on. The New Orleans picture, âSt Charles,â is defined by shadows cast by objects seen and unseen. The same strong sidelight is used on âRape Isnât Beautiful,â to create a sense of anguish and dread. The âMaking Gumboâ series tells a story through at least eight individuals as clear as the smell wafting from the pot. The use of black and white spares the viewer the distraction of chicken dissection, focusing on the coordinated preparation, the kinship of the participants and the anticipation of the final product. The excellent âBetween the Windows of the World,â in sharp contrast, is the kind of scene fantasy writers dream about.
Miesch uses a color film that has a strong palette in the reds, greens, and yellows. Her nature shotsâmost of the latter part of the bookâare brighter than usual photographs. The most controversial part of the book is the use of double exposures. Sometimes they work exceeding well, sometimes they look a little cluttered. The picture âLisa saysâ is a haunting face superimposed on a cactus.The âEl Salvadorâ from the Netherlands show flowers and an airplane tail, symbolizing the export of flowers worldwide. The photo âPfeiffer double sunâ is so well done it looks like another planet where two suns are in the sky.
Miesch has a great eye for visual composition. Each of the works tells a story; the single photos are crafted to keep your eye continually moving from one element to another, picking up detail with each pass. The superimposed images beg the viewer to find the integration between the two photos. Thus, they become the starting point rather than the ending point for the viewerâs thoughts. That is the theme of her photos; they are to provoke and engender thought, not just look pretty. In that, she succeeds very well.
There are some photos that invoke laughter, some that are poignant of times or places gone by, and some that are just a celebration of earthâs beauty. Especially towards the end, there is a joy in what she is doing that comes through her work. That fact, the excellent storytelling of her photos and the diverse subject matter of the photos make this an enjoyable book to own.
After editing reviews for here for a few years, I took up the Editorial Assistant duties, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My one piece of advice to every living person: read Octavia Butler.
|Page Count||240 pages|
|Publisher||DNA Publishing/self published|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Art, Architecture & Photography|