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Cover, Roadtrip, © Aaron Siskind / Coutesy of Friends of Photography
  
Road Trip, Photographs 1980-1988 binds together photos taken by Siskind close to home in Providence, Westport, and New York, and far from home base in Italy, Recife Sicily, Bahia, Peru, Morocco, Mexico, Vera Cruz, Chosica, and Barranco.  Charles Traub, photographer and former student of Siskind, describes in the introduction his experiences accompanying Siskind on many of his road trips.  The photographs in Road Trip are in the style Siskind has been known for since the days in the early 1940s when he broke from the documentary style of photography and his images became increasingly abstract and symbolic.  Traub describes these photographs as Siskind’s move to “generate from some random emblem or disfigured mark a means of ordering his universe.  In his perceptions he discovers and renews himself.”
   
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© Aaron Siskind / Coutesy of Friends of Photography
   
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© Aaron Siskind / Coutesy of Friends of Photography

Forty-one black and white photos make up the bulk of Road Trip.  At first, these photos may appear simple.  Yet, upon more intimate scrutiny, the observer is able to realize the layers and richness in Siskind’s work.  Questions also flood into the viewer’s mind.  Looking at a picture of a wall in Morocco, we wonder if this is a grand construction.  We may expect to see tiny heads appear in the windows of this wall.  Or perhaps those “windows” may just be the exact right size to stick a finger in.  As Traub tells us in his introduction, Siskind’s camera can give deceptive translations. “It matters little to the content of the photograph that anyone should ever know… The truth is how you see it.”  These translations make these photographs ours.  The viewer can have her phoenix rising or the bridge by his childhood home.  Some photographs, such as Sicily 152 let us see a woman’s portrait hanging on the wall.  We can wonder who she was; who would have created such a painting.  We can see animals and faces and time and memories.  With these photographs, one often has to look “beyond an immediate illusion to reality.”

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© Aaron Siskind / Coutesy of Friends of Photography
   
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© Aaron Siskind / Coutesy of Friends of Photography

Road Trip provides an excellent look at Aaron Siskind’s for it’s straight-forward yet complex images and insightful words of Siskind’s road trip companion, Charles Traub. 

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© Aaron Siskind / Coutesy of Friends of Photography


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Rob C

01-02-2011

Aaron was a 20th Century master!
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