As if memory came in any other form, as if cities came in any other form.
I was thinking about it recently when db etc and I were at the Met exhibition of French Daguerrotypes. I was thinking it was kind of a shame that photography starts around Paris, since that's one of the only cities on earth that looks pretty much like it did at that very moment in history. Basically, I like city photographs most when they represent what's never or doesn't or was.
Like there's the false memory of James Sanders' Celluloid Skyline, which is kind of a great site, as has been noted. The flash rollover skylines of "visions of the dream city" are dense and small, like digital things should be.
And if those are photographs of a New York that never existed, then Douglas Levere's rephotography of Berenice Abbott's Changing New York are photographs as if the camera itself were a monument. Know what I'm saying, as if the camera itself was the great monument of New York City? It really is, in a way, since Levere uses Abbott's 8×10 "Century Universal" (!) to speak the same language that she did. Speaking the same language, since it's a dialogue.
Geoff Walden's "Third Reich Ruins" is a different kind of dialogue, one with his now-deceased dad, who was stationed in Germany '45-46. Since Walden also runs a nazi-memorabilia sales site and is NRA (he votes!), the intentions of his Berlin are less clear maybe than, e.g. Levere's New York. Quite interesting stuff, though. There is something kind of unique about the "Lost Sites" section of the site, photo above is from there. He has his father's unlabeled photographs of a Germany that no longer exists (that's one up above), and has only the whole wide world to help him identify them. In this, using photography to close some books and open others, I was kind of touched.
To paraphrase, DBrown might have something to say about this. It's a high lob.Posted by kevin slavin at October 16, 2003 12:55 AM