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Southern Frontiers: A Journey Across The Roman Empire Hardcover – 4 Mar. 2010
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|Hardcover, 4 Mar. 2010||
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`an evocative journey through the remnants of the Roman Empire' --Lonely Planet Magazine
'The result is breathtaking. Who else could photograph ruins and give them such brooding drama' --Traveller
a work of art... photos of great majesty, awesome in their technical mastery
-- The Lady
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It is a truly beautiful book -- a masterpiece of photo- and book-printing.
The photographs are darkly moody -- even what you can presume are the "sunny" ones. The overall effect is twofold -- a sense of unbearable sadness at the passage of a great civilization, now left only in stumps of ruins scattered across thousands of miles; and an immediate sense of longing to go and see what McCullin has seen --even though it is impossible for most of us to see exactly what McCullin has seen in composing and then printing these beautiful images.
It is a very large book, with large beautiful black and white plates, two introductions one being by McCullin himself - the rest is all photo, with captions.
I heard tell that McCullin used a Large Format camera with sheet film to capture these places, ranging from Palmyra to Baalbek and finishing off with desolate, bleak and soulful pictures of Hadrians Wall in winter - covered in snow they portray the Northern Frontier of Rome perfectly.
Don McCullin is a genius and also my most favorite of artists and this is another masterpiece, as it's not his usual portraiture, reportage, landscape or still life (as in open skies) but a record of a personal trip through the Southern Frontiers of the Roman Empire.
He captures what most photographers are never able to - the desolation, the beauty, the antiquity, the soul and spirit of the place - Leptus Magna in Black and White Large Format is something to behold - and with McCullins touch the feel of the place, the ghosts haunt every photograph and one is drawn into staring at the photo and losing oneself in thought.
Every single photograph is a masterpiece in itself, and just focussing upon them can lead one to rupture or melancholy - as both states are expressed and made manifest in the photographs.
And this book inspired me and kindled the dormant childhood interest in Rome i used to have and I long to visit Baalbek, Palmyra and Leptis Magna.
Having visited Caerleon and seen remains of the Amphitheatre there I photographed it in Black and White MF film, and having studied my own photographs I realise BW is a perfect medium to record history with, yet I know I have not the spirit of McCullin, nor ever will as his work is beyond.
The book is very well produced on highly suitable paper, unlike the new David Bailey's tome which is on nice paper but the wrong choice for the subject, which is a shame as he too is one of my favourites along with Roger Fenton, Eugene Smith, Edwin Smith, Cartier Bresson, Dorothea Lange and the Rock n Roll photographer Neal Preston.