Tuesday, 08 January 2008 00:00
I was ready to write this book off as A) only of interest to Americans, and B) a daft novelty, but in fact it is one of the more imaginative photo-books to surface in recent years.
I was ready to write this book off as A) only of interest to Americans, and B) a daft novelty, but in fact it is one of the more imaginative photo-books to surface in recent years. It’s the record of a three-year photographic journey across the States, in which Kirkbride sought out underwater images from each state. So we get coral reefs from Florida, sharks from North Carolina and giant kelp from California.
So far, so predictable – but for the most part, this book is not at all obvious, as we attune to Kirkbride’s way of seeing things. So as we arrive at Greenwich Village in downtown New York, he gives us the blur of a yellow taxi splashing through a puddle; in the badlands of Minnesota, we have a loon diving into a mine-pit lake; and in New Hampshire, we have a picture of a maple tree, its golden leaves providing the perfect subject for an up-and under-shot.
The quirkier the subject, the better the picture. One of my favourites is the shot of a 1962 Minuteman missile in Alabama’s Madison Aquatic Park, a Cold War relic now used to amuse divers in – you guessed it – a flooded quarry.
In an age when increasingly advanced cameras are being used to take the same old images, this is a work of originality, and is reasonably priced to boot.