CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 8/7/2013
This week, we received an advance copy of This Is Mars, one of the most important and fascinating photo (and science) books of the year. Published by Aperture and compiled by the revered French publisher, editor and designer Xavier Barral, this deluxe hardcover features 150 exquisite tritone images of the Red Planet, taken by the famous HiRISE camera. At once abstract and thrillingly specific, they are universally stupendous. Below is Barral's Preface, followed by a selection of images. If only our digital reproductions could do the book justice!
The images sent by the probes Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Pathfinder, and Mars Express, as well as those delivered by the Martian rovers, have satisfied our curiosity. The observations made since 2006 by the camera HiRISE have challenged our understanding of Mars and have revealed the contours of a very ancient landscape at an unprecedented level of resolution. I have approached and scrutinized the lava plains of the North, the ergs of the dunes, the craters covered with volcanic dust, the abyssal canyons, and the collapsed poles; and, as a stroller-in-place among the tens of thousands of images, I have chosen to maintain a uniform vantage point: each photograph covers six kilometers (3.7 miles) in breadth. At the end of this voyage, I have gathered here the most endemic landscapes. They send us back to Earth, to the genesis of geological forms, and, at the same time, they upend our reference points: dunes that are made of black sand, ice that sublimates. According to Victor Hugo, a landscape is a kind of writing, at the origin of the alphabet as well as of images: every letter was at first a sign, and each sign was at first an image. These places and reliefs can be read as a series of hieroglyphs that take us back to our origins. Valles Marineris, Noachis Terra, Olympus Mons, Iani Chaos, Meridiani Planum, Gemina Lingula, Athabasca Valles—these are among the many new places that work their evocative power on us and on our imagination. –Xavier Barral
Hbk, 11.5 x 13.75 in. / 272 pgs / 150 tritone.
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