Book Review: The Time After

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We recently received Doug Fogelson’s book “The Time After” in the mail today. One of the catch phrases on the press release is: “Temporal speculation for the post climate change era.” Heavy! Although it’s not as apocalyptic as the Popul Vuh’s 2012 world-termination prognosis, and not as, ahem, temporally speculative (in my opinion) to warrant vast assumptions about the post climate change era, there are some prismatic, multi-exposed layered photographs that time-lapsed-surfaced-ly explore the age old question of nature, man, and their relation to time. Shots of clouds and forests lay side by side by sprawling city streets. It’s certainly an interesting attempt to turn such a tired trope of amateur photography (the double-expose) into the basis for a complicated conceptual framework, though how many “heady” points on the nature of humanity the book makes, I’m not so sure.  Regardless, the book features stunning and creative print lay out and design by Tim Hartford. 

 

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  • http://www.front40press.com F40

    Glad you got the book. It has no subtitle, that’s just a rollover on our site, but in any event- thanks for really looking at it!
    Front Forty Press

  • http://sashamlee.com Sasha

    It was my pleasure! And I clarified the “subtitle” issue for you guys :)

  • http://www.dougfogelson.com Doug

    Hey,
    May I suggest you rethink the book’s “heady points” after reading the first two essays? That may help hammer some of the temporal speculation of the book’s press materials home, or not, but at least you will have read them before speculating on it yourself. What are the “vast assumptions” this book is making then in your opinion? And why is double exposure, triple, or more exposure photography amateur style? I suggest this process causes a viewer to reflect on the medium itself, the passage of time, and the nature of perception. But I would feel this way as I am the photographer who is responsible for the book. I appreciate the critique regardless and don’t mean to sound reactionary. Love critique and dialog Sasha, thanks for your post here!
    Doug

  • http://www.sashamlee.com Sasha

    Hi Doug-

    Thanks for your comments- honestly, I appreciate you taking the time to read the review and lend me your thoughts!

    Here’s my thoughts. I did read the books essays, and while I understand the desired aim to manipulate/condense multiple exposures into a singular frame/moment as a way of exploring the nature of the medium & time, I felt that the photographs, for me, functioned in more of a superficial fashion. (Rather than on the deep conceptual framework presupposed in the press releases & essays, that were quite dense and heady.) They are beautifully executed, though in my opinion, exploring time, and the nature of a singular moment is inherent to photography itself- in this case, the aesthetic choice employed for me did not transcend the inherent qualities of the media. I felt taking such a loaded approach to unpacking the works was interesting, though didn’t quite hit the mark for me as far as my view of your work.

    I relate double exposed photographs to being an amateur trope, much like the fish eye lens or time lapse photography, simply because of the plethora of amateur photographers who use this strategy because of its inherent “awe” factor. For the uninitiated, its a dazzling affect, and because of that, is often over-used. Not that your choice is amateur, but in tackling this loaded approach, certainly that must enter into the work somehow, or other’s considerations of it, at any rate.

    Hope this elaborate my thought process, but again, it’s only one person’s point of view.

    Sasha

  • http://www.dougfogelson.com Doug

    Thanks for the clear speak Sasha. I understand you more now. I’ll posit a few more thoughts here to mull over in the interest not of converting you (to my way particular of thinking) but for a rounding of these ideas in general.

    About high falootin’ verbiage in the press kit, the book is intended as an integrated sum of it’s parts, in this case the essays and design coupled with the photography. It’s all part of the whole experience, which is a journey from the sun to the ground, from the globalized world city to the natural, elemental, seasonal, oceanic planet and back up to the atmosphere completing a cycle into night. It’s symbolic of this “great round” -though not a substitute for it. I have a lot more to photograph before my larger body of work can really depict a representational balance of Earth’s main ecosystems and urbanisms, etc.. in that it is lacking much to be sure.

    About photography and the singular moment, I do not believe in any hierarchy to either singular or multiple, only to the execution of technique. Sure photography is the frozen “momento mori” of an instant mechanically recorded and frozen into a tableaux of the past inherently. Same goes for film or video- even as its “real time” motion conveys a dimensionality closer to cognitive perception. I feel that art photography can be given the same treatment painting had via the cubists or futurists, exist in a fourth dimension as in performance, and possibly both at the same time (and without simply copying art history). Subverting the typical moment or rectangular boundary has always felt to me to be less of an amusement park thrill and more about the evidence of minds expanding to consider the possibilities of space, time, light, and subjects either abstract or concrete. It’s interesting to hear your notion that people will see this and think it’s loaded, I kind of like that new take on it actually. Most of the time people think it was simply collaged later via the computer and not captured in the shooting process onto the film in the moments at the scene. I guess you could say the loadedness is akin to many of the Lomo cameras popularity with series image shooting (or colored gels or wide angles too) that probably could constitute a trope of it’s own- the Lomo/Holga Trope. However many hardcore art photographers use similar ideas as those exploited by those plastic toys with really great results.

    It’s probably because i’m so into my overlapping thing that I sometimes feel like single moment photography is getting too much of the lion’s share of attention even as we exponentially grow into the medium. It seems that initiated photo savvy people are always ready to intellectualize these single frozen mirrors of the past, decoding them formally and socially (or self referentially, either in communion or contrast), and hold them in a higher regard than the manipulated photography as a general rule. Photo work is touched now in more ways than ever, so that is widening the scope. With my process I feel that exploiting the camera machine/film I can get a result that begins to place moments of the past a little bit more into our viewing present, hopefully negating too much need to consider the photographer’s touch on the medium in favor or the viewer’s engagement with it on their own or via the machine’s role as evidenced by the bands of exposures. As the time and space add up, layer, multiply, and link down the film strip somehow it feels more like a vibrating life than the tableaux of a receding past.

    Well I don’t want to ramble on here too long. Thanks again for really reading, looking, and considering this book! Next I will have to send you one of my video’s and see what you think!

    Big up to Beautiful Decay ALL!
    D

  • http://sashamlee.com Sasha

    Doug,

    Thanks again for your thoughts, your inspiration behind the series is well thought out and interesting. Im glad you get where Im coming from. I guess my take on the works was far more formalist than the heavily conceptual oriented press releases I read suggested.

    -Sasha

  • http://www.dougfogelson.com Doug

    Hey Sasha,
    No sweat. Here’s that press release again for anyone who would like to read it too:

    For Immediate Release:
    The Time After by Doug Fogelson

    Front Forty Press is pleased to announce our next title, The Time After, which uses temporality to stimulate a deeper consideration of the “post climate change” era. Photography by Doug Fogelson and design by Tim Hartford are woven with essays from Derrick Jensen, Eiren Caffall, and Bridgette R. McCullough Alexander, as The Time After speaks to our changing understanding of the human role in the environment.

    Contrasting familiar built scenes and rich natural images; The Time After brings readers on a quick visit to planet Earth. A globalized humanity is portrayed in contrast with elemental and seasonal cycles. Speculative and poetic essays combine seamlessly with the images and design to display a new angle on activism in contemporary art practice.

    For over a decade Doug Fogelson has been investigating natural and constructed worlds via an iconoclastic multiple exposure photography style. His images catalog ephemeral forms of clouds, ocean waves, plant life, urbanism and human beings in unique time/space signatures along rolls of film. Working in these spaces Fogelson’s images record real life phenomena in a calculatedly abstract way.

    The images are created as a result of overlapping exposures in a linear progression along the film inside the camera (not collaged or digitally combined). The compositions depict a study of time, perspective, and space as the scenes correspond and layers multiply allowing viewers to become enmeshed in the visually variegated form. Shooting in this manner the photographer exploits the camera’s mechanics to discover something between motion picture and still photography. Fogelson often shifts vantage points or shoots subject matter that is in motion, so a cognitive sense of the subject becomes rooted in time as well as memory and vision.

    Presented in a horizontal format, this hardcover 216-page book is a rare gem. A limited edition of 2,000 copies was printed in this first run.

    Front Forty Press is an independent Chicago based publishing company focusing on a variety of artistic and sociological topics. A “F40” project is one that embodies uninhibited creativity and deals with contemporary thought. What matters most is the “cultivation and communication of ideas”.

    All Front Forty Press titles are distributed by The University of Chicago Press.

    Please send any questions or requests for digital images to [email protected].