Fotograf Magazine

Beth Block

the strange intimacies

Young American photographer Beth Block graduated only recently (in 2001) in Photography and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has presented herself to American audiences at several group exhibits: in New York, California and Texas. Beth Block cannot boast a dazzling CV full of ”important“ connections, but her way of seeing the urban environment and its inanimate details is very intriguing. Her From There to Here is a series of life situations shown in convincing snapshots: the back of a Harlem vendor; purple high-heeled sandals hooked in the legs of a barstool; a typical fat American girl with blue lips, waiting with an ice cream in her hand for her mother’s super retro afro to be styled; a coat, a carousel, a cigarette, heels, an umbrella, four white limos squeezed together outside a middle-class suburban house. (Why so many and why so tightly parked? Is there a wedding in the house? Or does a posh taxi driver live there? Hard to tell.) We can only speculate about the causes and consequences of the recorded details. A subtle humour underlies these perhaps at first sight simple-looking photographs which reveal small bits of the lives of things and people in the city and encourage us to develop them further in our minds; other photographs by Block have the feel of quiet contemplative corners which invite us to rest on a plastic chair, for instance with Mrs. Robinson.

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