Item description for Aquatique: Photographs by Brian Oglesbee by Brian Oglesbee...
The watery depths of Brian Oglesbee's photographs beguile the eye. In the world of his evocative and magnificent photography, nothing is quite what it seems. The rich, sensual images of his "Water Series," captured here, draw the eye again and again in an ongoing search for the meaning contained in these mysterious figures.
These photographs record, without alteration, what was within the field of view of the lens when the film was exposed. Yet the worlds Oglesbee creates--often as elaborately constructed and illuminated as small movie sets--are both paradoxical and richly expressive. Lovingly reproduced in rich quadtone printing, these photographs can be seen here in all their complexity, as they were meant to be seen.
At the heart of this photographic series is the artist's joy of creation. Oglesbee's fluid photos flow with energy. Each image born of his imagination is, in itself, a universe. Human figures both create these worlds and are born along with them. These figures are as goddesses and gods, at once feminine and androgynous; they are both themsleves in particular and reflections of all who look upon them.
"No one makes photographs like these. Brian Oglesbee, in his brilliantly creative use of water, has produced true art, magical and beautiful. The images are nothing short of amazing!" -Howard Schatz, world renown photographer and author of more than 15 books of photographs
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 14" Width: 11.2" Height: 0.9" Weight: 4.1 lbs.
Release Date Sep 25, 2007
Publisher Insight Editions
ISBN 1933784172 ISBN13 9781933784175
Availability 0 units.
More About Brian Oglesbee
BRIAN OGLESBEE, who lives in New York State, has been exhibiting his photographs in group and solo shows in the United States, Canada, and Japan since the early 1980's. His work hangs in many public and private collections including the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; The International Centre of Photography, New York; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida. LESLEY BRILL has published essays on the photographs of Diane Arbus, Eugene Atget, and Brett Weston, and authored books on the films of Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston. He is a professor and former chair in the Department of English at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Reviews - What do customers think about Aquatique: Photographs by Brian Oglesbee?
Absolutely Mystical and Enchanting: One of the Finest Monographs I've Ever Seen Nov 5, 2007
I actually have two reviews in mind for this book: a shorter one and a longer one. I'll give you the short one first and then add more background on Brian Oglesbee and his book: When I was first studying photography I was fortunate enough to have a photographer for a father, and a mother that loved beautiful books. At Christmas I often got photographic monographs and histories and that created in me a lifelong obsession to own fine photo books. The thrill I got from discovering and exploring a new photo book--especially a monograph by a single photographer--was an experience I just loved. In recent years though fewer and fewer great photo books have been published--they're just too expensive and most (not all) publishers are after the fast buck with a cheap book.
That is why Brian Oglesbee's Aquatique is such a refreshing and inspiring book: it picks up the nearly forgotten torch of masterful photographic monographs and proves that it is still possible to create (and hopefully be financially successful with) quality fine-art books. This is a big, beautiful, superbly printed book that is incredibly fun to look at. It is, in fact, one of the most beautiful monographs I've ever seen and there isn't a thing about it that is less than perfect. If you have this book in your house, I promise that you'll eagerly sit every visitor down and share these intense images with them.
Oglesbee's photos are of models that seem to be at once both under, in and escaping from pools of water and surrounded by gentle bits of nature: leaves, tree branches, seemingly natural reflections. Your first thought when you look at these images is that, of course, they must have been created in post production--a masterful job of Photoshop pehaps. Nothing could be farther from the truth: these photos were created entirely in front of the camera and they have not seen one pixel's worth of Photoshop. These are in-camera originals created by perhaps the photo world's greatest master of studio lighting and image design. And I know that they are camera originals and camera originals only because I have known the photographer since he began this decade-long project and I've seen these images evolve--and I've seen the original 4x5 Polaroid negatives (he uses Polaroid Positive-Negative film to create them).
The photos were invented, created and captured in front of the camera, each with a single exposure. And when you see these photos, you will be stunned by that realization. Many of the shots also include bubbles as a thematic (and very complex) visual element. Often, in close-up details that are superbly reproduced in the book, you can see wild and unexpected repititions of the models' figures, distorted in fantastically complicated patterns. Amazing. Again, you'll sit all your friends down to show them these pictures--and they won't give you back the book any time soon.
OK, that's my basic impression of the book. Now, a slightly longer backstory--I'll use an anecdote based in part on an article I wrote for American Photo magazine:
One spring night a few years back Oglesbee was invited to show some of his work (long before he had a book contract) at the New York PhotoGroup Salon and, because we'd been friends for a few years and I'd always wanted to attend a Salon meeting, he asked to join him. (I'm a former editor at Photo District News, so a lot of the faces were familiar to me.)
He had been invited to present a brief slide show of his work to a group of the New York photo world's elite and the audience included photographers like Jay Maisel, Walter Iooss, Howard Schatz and the (now) late Arnold Newman. Oglesbee was placed in the line-up after retrospective slide shows by both Newman and Iooss and before a showing of Schatz's newest work--probably not the placement any newcomer would voluntarily choose.
Oglesbee began his presentation with some early offbeat room-set shots to a polite, if cool, reception and then moved into his newest work: a fine-art work-in-progress called "The Water Series" (the photos that this book is based on).
There were some curious murmurs as Oglesbee's first black-and-white slide hit the screen--a sensual looking female figure peering up from the inky-black depths of a pool of a bubble-covered water. Then he dropped a second slide--a moderate close-up detail of the first shot that revealed repetitions of the figure just distinguishable in a group of bubbles. The murmurs grew louder and several photographers who had been milling around the edges of the darkened room took seats. Then a third slide dropped, an even tighter detail shot that revealed in utter clarity the same figure repeated in exquisite perfection in every single bubble surface. Instantly a barrage of questions were fired at him from the darkness.
Politely, the photographer offered to explain a bit (not everything) about how the images were made. He explained that all of the shots were done in camera using a single exposure and that there was no image-editing used. Another voice (it was Newman's) asked from the front row, "You mean you didn't use any Photoshop? None?"
No, no Photoshop.
There was an audible gasp in the room. I'm not kidding, a gasp. That's how shocking these photos are--particularly the details. Oglesbee was pummeled with questions about how he created the images and at one point he looked squarely at me and said, "There's only one person in this room that really knows how the images were made and if he says a word he won't get back to Connecticut tonight." I didn't say a word.
Anyway, it was at that gathering that I knew Brian's work was destined for the level of recognition and wide exposure that I hope this book provides. I used two of Brian's photos in my own book The Joy of Digital Photography (Lark Photography Book) and readers still single them out to comment on (two photos out of 400 in the book). If you are looking to to provide inspiration to a young photographer, please, do what my parents did for me: share this great photo book with them. Those books they generously gave me shaped my career and my perceptions of what great art really is. If you know an artist who needs inspiration and to know that new ideas really do happen (and that they come from hard work and an endless pursuit of passion) and that they can get published, again, share this book. It is, as I said, one of the most beautiful monographs you will every lay eyes upon--and thank the photo Gods that the publisher treated the work with the respect and great care it deserved. The paper, the ink, the binding: all world class. That said, this is not a book for collecting, it's a book for devouring.