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Richard Misrach: The Sky Book 
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Product Details 
144 pages 
Arena Editions 
Published 2000 
For more than two decades, Richard Misrach has been photographing the deserts of the American West by day and night. In the nocturnal images, long exposures made shooting stars visible as long streaks across the sky and illuminated the slow blush of dawn. During the past few years he has concentrated solely on the desert sky as a great canvas filled--depending on the hour, which he scrupulously documents--with cloud formations, glimpses of stars and planets, and the faint trails left by airplanes. 
In The Sky Book, Misrach divides his images into three sections: Skies, Heavenly Bodies, and Night Clouds. The skies read on the page as luminous color fields in a spectrum stretching from pale peach (Warrior Point at 5:25 a.m. in late June) to deep purple (El Centro at 5:07 a.m. in late March). The heavenly bodies group introduces more visual complexity, achieved in some instances by running an all-night exposure until dawn. A four-hour-long view of Polaris over Lake Mead coalesces on film as a pattern of delicate, pastel-colored concentric arcs against a black background. Night clouds are the least abstract of the images, their high-keyed reds and oranges reflecting city lights far below. 
The atmospheric color and large visual fields in these photographs make them more effective when seen as individual prints hanging on a wall. Bound together in a book, they lose some of the immediate, experiential quality that is their great appeal. This otherwise attractive volume labors too hard to make a bigger case for this body of work, with a rambling essay by Rebecca Solnit and an appendix of geographic locations and star names. The only words that really matter here are the photographer's own laconic descriptions of his working methods. --Cathy Curtis  
DKNY, Fall 2000 
A landscape photo-narrative of the splendor and destruction of the American West.  
Book Description 
Richard Misrach has redefined contemporary landscape photography with his images of the splendor and destruction of the American West. Each of his "cantos" considers another chapter in the epic story of humankind and the land. Far from portraying the pristine landscapes of early practitioners such as Carleton Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge, or Ansel Adams, Misrach's compelling and often troubling images of the American West pose important questions about the human impact on the natural world. Beneath the remarkable beauty of Misrach's color photographs are scenes of floods, fires, nuclear testing grounds, dead animals, and the debris of society. The photographs in The Sky Book comprise Richard Misrach's most recent, most ambitious series, which transposes his narrative from the land to the sky. The images mediate between document and abstraction, reality and metaphor. Drawing on photography's documentary tradition, Misrach contextualizes each photograph with respect to time and place, rooting the celestial realm firmly in the earthly and political one. In this way, his images are reminiscent of the efforts of nineteenth-century expeditionary photographers to record the natural resources of the frontier. At the same time, Misrach's sky pictures also evoke a tradition of abstraction in art and photography that includes Alfred Steiglitz's "Equivalents" and the paintings of Mark Rothko.

This photographer...

Angle of Repose: Four American Photographers in Egypt, The 
Sarah Anne McNear; Emily Teeter; Richard Misrach (Photographer); & Thomas C. Heagy
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Richard Misrach: Golden Gate 
Richard Misrach; T. J. Clark; & Richard Walker
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Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West (Creating the North American Landscape) 
Richard Misrach; & Myriam Weisang Misrach (Contributor)
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Richard Misrach: The Sky Book 
Richard Misrach; & Rebecca Solnit
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Richard Misrach: Golden Gate 
Richard Misrach (Photographer)
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Richard Misrach: Chronologies 
Richard Misrach (Photographer)
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Richard Misrach: On the Beach 
Richard Misrach (Photographer)
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