The Rapidian

Beauty lies in the eye

This is a review of the 'Beholder' photographic book created and released by Gaspard Gallery. The book features photography by Chris Cox, words by Jacob Bullard, and design by Ben Biondo.

'Beholder' availability

Beholder is available for purchase online at http://gaspardgallery.com

Recently, I was able to view the creation of "Beholder," a book produced by Gaspard Gallery with words by Jacob Bullard, design by Ben Biondo and photography by artist Chris Cox. I’m lucky to own one due to the limited edition of the work and pleased to be able to communicate some of my thoughts on it.

Self-published, the book itself should be viewed as a work of art. Long ago, photography had to fight to be included in the world of art, and now with the proliferation of tools we see photography’s digital democratization as a dilution of relevance. The rise of episodic production increases awareness but reduces the transference of content so essential to the voyeur experience of traditional photography. The ability to stare at a fraction of time and examine that moment has been reduced by the contemporary speed of photographic distribution.

Producing a show in the form of a book holds onto the series aspect of exhibitions. The creation of a photographic exhibition is often held back by the cost of capturing, developing, printing, mounting, matting, framing and glazing, necessary to meet the expectations of a viewer and purchaser. This results in exhibitions of photography that usually are limited by small quantities of prints or small scale. The reduction of context and serial nature reduces the ability for viewers to travel into the the viewpoint of the photographer.

The beholder is the photographer, and in essence, you. One is invited to travel into a landscape permeated with water, light, and people that seem to wander in and out of consciousness. The question posed by the sequence of photographs oftentimes reads as "what is real?" and "what is lost?" when the physical person is removed from the camera frame. Is the beauty that Chris Cox sees the phantom of presence?

   

It is hard to remove the feeling that you are observing young male bohemians in a state of searching. The feeling of searching transfers into the viewing of the work, and furthermore, elicits the scanning for clues and comparisons. The need for meaning is so necessary that the hierarchy of objects falls flat. Is the light symbolic? What are they doing in this place? Where did they come from? Why are they doing it?

 

   

These questions never leave the viewer's mind and leave the impression of how I, the viewer, continue to look for sexuality, confrontation and expression. However, I receive vacancy, submission and obscurity. This search for meaning is married with beautiful use of light, color and form. The materiality of water and the body dither through vessels of mud, clothing and air. Color and light illuminate, but also provide the places to hide. When the physical materiality of the person is absent– is the life force of the person absent?

This conflation is what is most notably feels like the art. The physicality of individuals is equally valued with the physicality of nature. When I look at the individuals I want to know if they are more than listeners, more than explorers, more than beholders. When I look at nature I want to know that it embodies life more than its mysteries.

The book is available online: http://gaspardgallery.com

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