Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Wayne Koestenbaum.
The images in New York–based photographer Bill Jacobson’s (born 1955) When Is a Place suggest risks and uncertainties. They question both the nature of perception and our existential place in the world, themes explored throughout his five decades of making photographs. Jacobson’s use of a defocused lens, bleached-out skies and a curious tonal range challenge boundaries of traditional photographic practice. Diffuse horizon lines dramatically bisect distant landscapes; the subtle curves of vague human bodies and unknown spaces suggestive of architecture play prominent intertwining roles. Jacobson’s original large-scale prints are analog silver gelatin, printed by him in a traditional black-and-white darkroom. Created between 2018 and 2020, the images were made in Virginia, the south of France, upstate New York and in Jacobson’s studio in New York City.
Published by Radius Books. Poem by Maureen N. McLane.
Bill Jacobson: Place (Series) showcases the celebrated photographer's newest body of work, which he describes as "the result of inserting rectangles of various sizes and surfaces in both constructed and natural settings … the work questions what is 'real' and what is 'abstract,' while suggesting that the creation of places … comes from choice and desire." Jacobson (born 1955) creates work that speaks to the artificial geometric constructs that dominate even supposedly natural photography; a photographer, we are reminded through these visibly curated images, is always creating the subject of his photograph. Place (Series), while visually abstract, touches on something quite human in its exploration of the impulse to construct space, image and the world around us.
Published by Decode Books. Interview by Ian Berry.
Bill Jacobson (born 1955) is widely known for his blurry black-and-white portrait photographs of the 1980s, which referenced the AIDS epidemic in their implications of fleeting presence and human fragility. Whether shooting figures, street scenes or landscapes, Jacobson has consistently projected a sensation of both personal and collective memories fading into oblivion. A Series of Human Decisions presents a new body of work as sharp as his previous work was immaterial, and signals a whole new approach to similarly melancholic imagery. Here, crystal-clear renderings of vacated, somewhat lonesome spaces, both private and industrial, inside and outside, intimate and alienating, convey the extreme constructedness of what surrounds us. As Jacobson explains, the title “refers to the idea that we live in a highly constructed world. The world is just that, a series of human decisions, one layered upon another over time. We move constantly from one fabricated arena to another.” This monograph includes an in-depth interview between the artist and Ian Berry.
PUBLISHER Decode Books
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 9.25 x 10.5 in. / 104 pgs / 65 color.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 2/28/2010 No longer our product
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2010 p. 99
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9780979337345TRADE List Price: $50.00 CDN $60.00
Bill Jacobson's photographs resist easy identification. They are blurred, diffuse and atmospheric, depicting only the vague outlines of urban scenes, rural landscapes and human figures. Enveloped by a dark or light mist, these shadowy forms refute the premise that photographs capture reality and serve as a reliable aid to memory. Instead, his photographs are images of vague recollections and forgotten experiences. They speak of mortality and dissolution, not only of the body but of its surroundings as well. His latest works, presented here, are related to two earlier series from the 1990s which were direct responses to the AIDS epidemic, but are more open-ended and universal in spirit.