I was commissioned to write this a few years ago for the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava (and thank you to all the photo...
Thursday, 17 September 2015
The Most Important Decision of the Day: When to Have a Nap.
Up Around the Bend by Christian Lagata is a book about an Aero-Naval Base in the municipality of Rota near Cadiz. This is where Lagata grew up, living in a region overshadowed by this huge military base.
And so he photographed it, in a variety of ways The most striking pictures are the landscapes; grey images of non-places where the ground is scorched and the trees mishapen. It's a place where dead cats lie on the roadside and the barbed wire fences have ribbons of cloth hanging from them. It's a little corner of Spain that lies beyond the liminal; a sub-liminal (is that where that comes from? And what does it mean?), the fourth dimension of the liminal, a noumenal liminal where even the possibility of something going on is quite inconceivable.
It's a divided land where walls and chains mark one space off from another, where the earth is dry and the vegetation dusty. Planes fly over and there are signs of American life (a Mustang, a man called Brown, a church). There are locals too - sleepy locals who have sleepwalked into this sleepy backwater where when you have your siesta might just constitute the most important decision you make in the day.
There are also colour images - these are American in tone and they look to be screengrabs. There's another world in there and though sometimes the pictures might be from the base, sometimes you get the feeling that they are not. America travels in mysterious ways.
Up Around the Bend is a smart and austere book; quiet pictures for a quiet place. I warmed to it.
Buy Up Around the Bend here.