Though endless white sand beaches and beautiful seascapes occupy the largest part of the frames, it is the rarefaction of human presence the first thing that strikes us in Richard Misrach’s photographs.
The author’s eye is maybe still searching, in the crystal blue, for the endless views – as in the Desert Cantos. In this exceptionally large format book, the scarcity of the human presence is – once again – a clear reminder of the fragility of our own existence.
From Aperture’s website: “In some images, a lone figure floats in a liquid field of brilliant turquoise—or in others, lies beached and partially buried. The details in the images are frequently ambiguous—are the figures relaxed or drained of life? Cavorting in the surf or panicking in the riptide? The balance is a fragile one between control and surrender to the elements.”
The people portrayed seem to be looking at themselves from an aerial view. They are watching helplessly and motionlessly as they surrender to the tides, slowly drifting. It is precisely in this immense solitude that Misrach, unexpectedly, manages to give us the feeling that we, after all, are still alive.
The crystalline beauty of the author’s photographs is an assertion of life. At the same time, it forces us to face the brutality of an overcrowded world that nevertheless fails making us feel less lonely.