Geoffrey James has been making photographs since the early 1970s, when he began photographing gardens. His first body of garden photographs, black and white prints made with a modified Kodak panoramic camera, expressed classical notions of beauty, revealing the geometry and underlying structure of the formal garden as well as evoking a quiet passion for the great landscaping schemes and natural sanctuaries of the past.From the tranquility of the Roman Campagna to the desolate demarcations of the U.S./Mexican borders, James's photographs reverberate with a sense of history but are solidly rooted in the present. In a more recent series of photographs about the built environment of Toronto, James pays particular attention to the way that light carves out details of architecture and delineates texture, whether it be tarpaper, glass, wood or stone. Recognized as one of North America's most eloquent interpreter of landscapes, Geoffrey James has paid particular attention to the way in which nature and culture intersect. While not concerned with Romantic notions of "the ruin", James's photographs do suggest a fall from grace.
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Geoffrey James is a Fellow of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, New York, as well as being a recipient of the Victor Lynch Staunton Prize of the Canada Council. His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cleveland Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.Review:
"Both show and catalogue -- James's images stand up well on the page -- march us steadfastly past the wide range of subjects that interest the 66-year-old, Welsh-born, mostly self-taught photographer...James's work has long fit well within the framework of photographic history. Indeed, there's much to be admired in earlier panoramas of Italian gardens and French landscapes in Utopia/Dystopia." (Toronto Star 2008-10-10)
"A thoughtful illustrated celebration of the artist's outstanding accomplishment...In these images, and elsewhere in his work, Geoffrey James pinpoints with strong artistic force the fault-lines and fissures in the architectural history of our time." (Globe & Mail 2008-07-24)
"James has made a study of the ways in which men would control both nature and the built environment, and the ways in which both nature and human neglect eventually overwhelm these ambitions. Increasingly, if his photos seem beautiful it is despite, not because, of their subjects...James has made a remarkably sure and swift progression, uncovering his true subject and defining his artistic attitude, deciding for himself and his viewer just exactly what role should be played by a stack of cheap plastic rates plunked down in front of a historic facade." (Globe & Mail 2008-06-03)
"Despite the absence of people, a sense of human habitation is powerfully evoked. James' subject has always been the relationship between landscape and civilization, nature and humanity. This visually sumptuous volume is worthy of one of the country's most significant contemporary photographic artists." (Waterloo Region Record 2008-10-11)
"[Utopia/Dystopia] provides an illustrated chronology of James' career, which adds depth to the book, giving us a glimpse of his maturation as a photographer...For photography buffs, this tabletop book is a nice addition to one's collection, particularly, as a study in black and white." (Regina Leader-Post 2008-09-20)
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Book Description Douglas & McIntyre, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111553653475