Sunday, February 21, 2010

Skip, by David Newsom --- Art Photography

David Newsom is an amazing photographer, as illustrated in his photo diary of his brother Skip.  This small book features mostly photos with a small amount of text, discussing his brother Skip and his settling in the Tetons in Idaho.  Previously institutionalized, Skip finds life in the rugged mountains to his liking and these photos document his first day onward.
I know absolutely nothing about photography (I've heard of that old rule of thirds, but that's it).  I don't understand filters or lighting or even how to pose a subject.  What knocked me out about these photos is that they don't appear staged at all, these are literally snapshots of ordinary things that look extraordinary.
Clouds don't pose, do they?  If not, how do they appear so perfectly composed in the background of these shots?  The clouds and the untamed outdoors feature prominently in these, and Newsom makes them appear otherworldly, almost glowing.
"Laundry, 1998" is my favorite photograph, with a simple travel trailer, a black dog, laundry on the line and a large power line spool situated on the dark green grass.  All very simple things but composed to such incredible beauty.  The clouds rolling in above and the fence posts in the background appear to be approaching, almost like workers returning from the fields.  I can't explain how such simplicity can be so haunting.
"Dogfight, 2004" is another favorite, with a angry sky reflecting the vicious interplay between two dogs (one of them a German Shorthair Pointer, a breed that holds a special place in my heart).  The dogs appear to be in a field of thistle that looks just as angry as the dogs.  Ordinary subjects, astonishing moment caught.  I hope to find more books by Newsom, as just flipping through these photographs was relaxing and engaging.

Skip can be purchased at or 


  1. Sounds like a beautiful book! Photos can be haunting in their simplicity---great descriptions-- I know exactly what you mean.

    I don't understand all the terms & techniques either so I'm an accidental photographer. I take loads of shots and every now and then one is accidently spectacular--- Thank goodness for digital cameras!

  2. Thanks for the lovely review. SKIP can most easily be purchased at:


    David Newsom