Book Review: No One’s Land

No One’s Land

This stunning book from Ricardo Dominguez Alcaraz, a Spanish artist, is a step up in the world of print-on-demand. The images were selected and sequenced by José de Almeida, of the Camera Infinita publishing house. Peecho, the Amsterdam-based print-on-demand company, printed the book with subtle color and tonal variations.

My copy was mailed to me from Seattle, USA, and I understand that Peecho uses a distributed model of printing, with partners around the world.

Alcaraz told me that he and Almeida supplied images that they thought would print well through Peecho and were pleased with the first copy of the book they ordered. (Another Peecho user told me that he had to order a sample book and then resubmit his images after some toning adjustments.) In any case, the book is more attractive than ones I have made through Blurb, and quite a bit less expensive. I will be using Peecho in the future for my self-publishing.

Alcaraz’s book is full of intriguing images of suburbs, “intermediate places that are absolutely necessary for the city,” according to his introduction. My only complaint about the book is that Alcaraz’s thoughtful introduction is rendered in not-quite-perfect English. This is made up for by the eloquence of his images, which can be universally appreciated. He makes a poetry of wooden pallets, stunted trees, billboards, roadsigns and other ephemera of the suburbs.

Almeida skillfully sequenced the images into a flow that links one picture to another, building a work that is more powerful than any individual image. His touch demonstrates the value of a careful and thoughtful editor. Alcaraz told me in an email that he saw his work with fresh eyes when presented with Almeida’s sequences.

No One’s Land is a treat, and reminds me once again of how powerful the printed image can be when sequenced into a carefully-made book.

— Willson Cummer, Fayetteville, New York, USA

José Luis De La Parra

© José Luis De La Parra

In times when nothing seems to have been created to last and it is the ephemeral reason of things that prevails, our transfiguration toward a disposable world is recognized as a congenital illness.

We live mesmerized by an entertainment society that in a systematic, insensitive manner creates, exhausts, and discards. Under the inflexible, dominant pressure of a culture of immediacy, it subjects its own product to terminal corrosion.

Beyond the rigidity of the conceptual apparatus and ideological assumptions, the civilization of entertainment is cruel. It has no memory. It lives stuck to novelty, no matter which, as long as it moves on.

This vertiginous production rate leads nowhere but to an accelerated obsolescence of its mechanisms. Thus, film settings — apparently enormous and grandiose — suffer the depraved parody of their own fleetingness. Settings condemned by their own staging.

A mere instrument for fantasy, when a setting becomes repetitive in the collective imagination, the same industry that created it sentences it to destruction. If not physically, by discrediting it with neglect.
It is these containing spaces with no content that frame this series. Photographs that capture these spaces now condemned to become even more contrived theme parks, by-products of a tourism industry that long ago became disfigured into another entertainment society’s tentacle.

Thus, hordes of visitors searching to devirtualize something that was previously constructed in their pictorial imaginary will dictate the epilogue for spaces recorded herein.

— José Luis De La Parra, Madrid, Spain

© José Luis De La Parra

© José Luis De La Parra3

Jose Quintanilla

© Jose Quintanilla

I have always been attracted by those small houses, accompanied by a tree and scattered across the rural landscape of La Mancha, Spain. Former shelters of farmers and animals, they synthesize somehow the relationship between man and nature, like a metaphor of our origin. This project shows a series of photographs that explore the dialogue between houses and trees, construction elements and plants, the fight of humanity against nature, and its integration into the surrounding landscape. Pictures of the countryside and the beauty of simplicity. For this project, I have been aging cotton papers of high quality, using traditional natural dyes and oxides, which, after drying, are printed using pigmented inks. The codes at the bottom of each image represent the compass coordinates of the actual location of each shot.

— Jose Quintanilla, Madrid, Spain

© Jose Quintanilla