Book Review: staking claim: a california invitational


Staking Claim is the second of a three-part series which began in 2010 as part of the Museum of Photographic Arts’ (MOPA) triennial series. Its purpose is to celebrate numerous established and emerging artists who reside and make work in California.  Each of the artists represented have a unique vision and have attained a certain level of individual achievement in the photographic world.

Currently, the medium of photography is so multi-faceted as a result of quickly changing technology, discontinuation of necessary chemicals, and the enduring creative spirit. This catalog is a perfect representation of the diversity of processes that are being used by contemporary photographers today.

From Siri Kaur’s vast, ethereal galaxies to Todd Hido’s microcosms of a suburban life, each artist represented illustrates a response to their personal history as it relates to the world of photography and contemporary culture. All photographers represented in the catalog are pushing the limits of photography today, as we know them.  Eric William Carroll’s photographic installation and Chris Engman’s use of combining photography, sculpture and landscape is further testimony to the diverse and vast approach of contemporary photographers.

The fluid interpretation of photography as it is being currently executed lends itself to the logical layout and execution of the publication itself. The level of attention to detail in the making of the catalog takes it from a general photo book to a work of art.   The embossed linen cover is a welcome sight along with the beautiful exposed spine binding  and the multi-tiered pages divided into separate sections, which include the introduction and essay, plates, and artist bios.  Staking Claim not only celebrates the current experimentation that is celebrated by the featured artists, but also fosters the intellectual inquiry of artist and reader alike.  While at the same time,  encapsulates an interesting layout that makes perfect sense for the photographs featured as well as the reader’s sense for the world of contemporary photography.

Photographers in Staking Claim: A California Invitational

Matthew Brandt                                                           Mona Kuhn

Susan Burnstine                                               Matt Lipps
Eric William Carroll                                         David Maisel
John Chiara                                                     Klea McKenna
Chris Engman                                                  Doug Rickard
Robbert Flick                                                   Mark Ruwedel
Todd Hido                                                       Paul Schiek
Siri Kaur                                                          Christina Seely

Staking Claim: A California Invitational
156 pages

To purchase a book or for more information about MOPA, click here.

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