Wednesday, May 24
The Queens landscape by Frank Gohlke and Joel Sternfeld
The Lemon Ice King of Corona, 108 Street, 2003
"Steidl has just published Landscape as Longing, a book of photographs by Frank Gohlke and Joel Sternfeld made in Queens neighborhoods in New York between 2003 and 2004. The title immediately evokes the idea of desire and expectation tinged with nostalgia, and seems to suggest a definition and a method: landscape as a form of wistful anticipation. Gohlke and Sternfeld’s book is not, contrary to what one might expect, a celebration of multiethnic and multicultural Queens, and if there is a hint of journalism it is only in the style which occasionally draws on documentary photography. The views are captured with sober precision, with no aestheticization, if not for the fact that the whole is bathed in the same summer light. There is nothing excessive about them, either: Gohlke and Sternfeld’s Queens is a rather sad looking suburb, filled with parking lots, empty streets, garish store fronts, and highways; it’s an amalgam, devoid of coherence or cohesion, of industrial zones, no-man’s lands, natural areas, and residential lots. ..."