Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: John Sexton's Places of Power

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Purcellville, VA
    Posts
    91

    John Sexton's Places of Power

    John Sexton’s Places of Power, The Aesthetics of Technology

    I begin this thread with the acknowledgement that this book undoubtedly drew much discussion here when it was published in 2000 and in the years immediately following. However, given the challenge of extracting the threads in searches, and, in the interest of others who may not have seen the book, which met my eyes only last week, I will share a few thoughts, including some I shared in a note to Mr. Sexton’s contact address recently.

    Places of Power, The Aesthetics of Technology, is superb in every respect, from conception through detail of execution. Sexton writes in it about his intention to compose the book as a unity, and he addresses the very fact that he chose to publish a physical book rather than rely on electronic publication. The design, paper quality, and printing are as fine as any I have come across, and, by design, the writing complements the conception of the book elegantly, with what one might justly call harmonious, or perhaps contrapuntal, contributions from Walter Cronkite and Sexton's friend Rob Pike.

    While this forum is not a place for advancing philosophical or political beliefs, one cannot speak of this book fully without its subject, which unifies the three components: photographs of the Anasazi cliff-dwelling ruins, of the Hoover dam and electric-power-generating plants, and of the NASA space shuttle—technological achievements representing past, present, and future. The three writers speak to this remarkable group extraordinarily well; I will only add here, that they touch on something fundamental which deserves serious consideration by the public at large at a time when the word technology has been distorted in common parlance to refer only to electronic technology. Pike notes that technology was necessary for the first cave painter—he needed a marking instrument—and says, “Technology define us. It makes us human.” There’s a vital kernel of truth in that statement.

    Like his teacher and friend Ansel Adams, Sexton loves Classical music. If any reader here shares this passion, he or she may find it interesting to consider, for example, Johannes Brahms’s Intermezzo in A, Op. 118, No. 2 for solo piano, as a "compositional complement" in some ways to, particularly, the Anasazi images. (I strongly recommend the performance by the young Dutch pianist, Arthur Jussen, found on YouTube, both for its moderate tempo and exceptionally thoughtful phrasing and voicing.) I do not mean the sort of multi-media experience that requires the viewer to hear music while viewing the images. Sexton has found a way to combine timeless stillness with the sometimes swirling, other times angular, apparent motion of the wind-eroded sandstone cliffs in a manner that conveys the unfolding of seemingly conflicting but lawfully intertwined processes. The process of composition of the mentioned Brahms piece, in my view, shares something of this with some of Sexton’s images. In the context of the book as a whole, the ironies of his compositions are indeed especially powerful.

    As rich as the reproductions in the book are, the full-sized silver prints from this master of the medium must be breath-taking. One can only hope that exhibitions of this unified work will be “coming soon to a gallery near you!” Meanwhile, the book is a rare treat. Consider obtaining one through inter-library loan, as I did, if you can‘t get one otherwise.
    Ulophot

    Sine scientia ars nihil est.

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    4,738

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    I was setting up my current darkroom around 2000 to 2002. But not yet into Large Format. In 2005 when I started 4x5, I went back to those images as examples of 'state-of-the-art' 4x5 technique. To me, those images were more representative of what could be done with modern darkroom supplies (Metal field camera, wide coverage coated wide-angle lenses, T-max film, developer and multigrade paper) than images form the prior generation (Ansel Adams). I don't know what Sexton is using these days, but I'm still using all that same stuff.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Boca Raton FL
    Posts
    34

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    Thanks for your perspective,Ulophot. It is interesting to hear others responses to Sexton's images.
    BTW, John used a Hasselblad ArcBody for many of the space shuttle photos.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Seoul
    Posts
    99

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    Having read this I've bought a copy from ebay. I'm looking forward to getting hold of it.
    Peter

  5. #5
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Baltimore MD
    Posts
    915

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    It's been several years since I saw the book. My main memory was his mastery of the extreme light values. Sexton's book is one of the best examples of overall technical excellence.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    The Highlands of Scotland
    Posts
    74

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    I bought a copy of this book several years ago after meeting John at one of his exhibitions in Carmel. I regularly refer to it to see what can be done with our materials if we could only master them.

    I have to say he and his wife Anne were a delight to speak to and that would have continued for a while until he introduced me to Michael Adams.

    Both events gave me a holiday to remember.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Purcellville, VA
    Posts
    91

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    Serendipity:
    For those able and interested, Mr. Sexton has a "Black and White Friday" sale till Dec. 1: signed copies of "Places of Power" for $50 (half-price) plus $12 shipping.
    Here's the link:
    http://ventanaeditions.stores.yahoo....esofpower.html
    Ulophot

    Sine scientia ars nihil est.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    664

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    Thanks for posting.
    I know just enough to be dangerous !

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Forest Grove, Ore.
    Posts
    3,318

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    Serendipity:
    For those able and interested, Mr. Sexton has a "Black and White Friday" sale till Dec. 1: signed copies of "Places of Power" for $50 (half-price) plus $12 shipping.
    Here's the link:
    http://ventanaeditions.stores.yahoo....esofpower.html
    I ordered one yesterday and am looking forward to receiving it. I liked this book immediately, when I first saw it. It rarely pops up an our local Powell Book store, so I'd not yet acquired a copy.

    Towards the bottom of the above link, it states the following:

    FIRST EDITION AUTOGRAPHED BY JOHN SEXTON
    QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED

    I checked and was told that, while they last, these are signed 1st edition copies.

    I dunno. I've always thought that it's kind of neat to have a 1st edition. (I guess I'm playing the game.)

  10. #10
    sepiareverb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NEK | VT
    Posts
    154

    Re: John Sexton's Places of Power

    Indeed a truly lovely book, as you say visually as well as in conception. And his writing is wonderful.

Similar Threads

  1. Saw John Sexton last night...
    By PViapiano in forum On Photography
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 2-Apr-2007, 07:41
  2. John Sexton Lecture in Oregon
    By Saulius in forum Announcements
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 5-Oct-2006, 21:43
  3. John Sexton will be Baltimore, Maryland
    By X.Wang in forum Announcements
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 9-Feb-2002, 22:01
  4. The 1st John Sexton fake?, Second One Not!!
    By Andre Noble in forum Announcements
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 25-Nov-2001, 17:59
  5. Places of Power
    By Jeff White in forum On Photography
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 15-Jan-2001, 23:10

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •