|Photo: John Gossage|
The Auckland Project is a two part "collaboration" between Gossage and Alec Soth bound in a bright plastic sleeve. Although to be fair, the latter's contribution consists of a poster and a couple of snapshots. Not really quite sure what that's all about! The Gossage portion, called An Easy Guide to the Southern Stars (A Number of Photographs), consists of a hardbound book with excellent color reproductions and fold out enlargements at regular intervals. The pictures are of the most banal and mundane everyday objects and vistas that Mr. Gossage came upon during his promenades throughout suburban Auckland. Eggleston's subject matter looks like a Hollywood action movie complete with pyrotechnic explosions and car chases compared to ol' John's scenarios of drying paint. Regardless, the son of a bitch somehow, someway manages to fill them with a sense of mystery and make them shine.
We should all be so lucky, and talented. Most of us die trying on our own daily jaunts through the neighborhood (or whatever domain, foreign or domestic, we find ourselves privileged to roam) camera in hand- the one we have personally anointed for own specific needs and vision. And after a day's worth of time and effort, we're "supposed" to go home with our half dozen keepers. Of course, rare is the day; but that's the way it's "supposed" to work. Gossage does it regularly- in fact, after doing just that one day, he had Soth in a near depression.
Like many of Friedlander's projects, Gossage could have definitely gone with a tighter edit, the sheer number of similar images only serves to dilute the magic- still, amazing how many of the damn things work. Despite that plethora, this was the only decent jpeg I could find, and even more ironically, the picture that most represents the book online is Soth's one photo contribution- go figure. Anyway, though I can't fit it into my budget at the time, this one's worth the price (at $50, that is- wouldn't pay what I'm seeing elsewhere)...
Update: And perhaps my proofreader should also be banned for originally misspelling Auckland. Thanks- JG!