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Reading the poems, it feels as if Lepson is talking to each of us individually, engaged in an intimate and very comfortable conversation . . . about snow turning musical, floating marzipan and mascarpone, a sentence turning into molding on a building....The writing is simple, calm and direct, and reminds me of the tone of Buddhist teachings, with a sense of humor....Buddha, concepts, facts and so forth drift in synaethasea. Dreams are seen as the flip side, or another side, of awareness....Some of Crump’s photos include images superimposed on other images, and he extends this idea in Morphology by adding another layer to his photos, in the form of Lepson’s words....In this book, his diaphonous pictures align with Lepson’s dream text and Strong’s often whimsical typography to create a sensitive, well thought out whole....My advice is to go online to look at the photos but for a greater appreciation of Morphology get the book. Holding a book is a more restful experience than looking at a computer screen, and restfulness seems right for this work from Lepson, Crump and Strong.
Their collaboration keeps tuning itself as if percusively debunking an instructional demo before the premiere of an impossibly extravagant sonatina....Ruth’s text carries descriptors for surreal accompaniment aspiring to an arrangement of countless propositional forks, tuning forks perhaps....Thanks to Christina Strong’s document design the text plays companion to the photos in shapes of sometimes shadowed, inflationary, floating or boxed-in fonts that all together reinforce the idea of competing notes, rather than notions, tuning up, drifting, “flying through the word — the wind.” Walter’s landscapes and portraits, some taken through a pin-hole lens that produces an equal focus across varying distances, some double-exposed, feel like propositions, as well. The photos that also incorporate Ruth’s text multiply the drift as she’s “standing in the middle of a paragraph.”
The era of “colored hearing” is now awash with Morphology’s dreamlaps. Poems sense aside photos while photos press lines to logos — a ”double joy” that explodes the “fortune cookie” approach to dream talk. “Awake” is now “Aquake”, and we are more sensible souls for the “light tablets” this collaboration tones us.
In the first image of Ruth Lepson and Walter Crump’s Morphology, the eye follows train tracks into a distant background of earth-meets-sky, the sky a near circle of light, presenting at the same time an enclosure and an eternity. The first text suggests a linkage of thinking and seeing: if I think it, it appears. Magic. The magic here concerns the relationship of verbal to visual, a relationship always lively, never predictable. The text is no less visual than the photographs, and at times even the letters take one’s attention (and one’s breath away); in the section in which it is stated that all men are pencils, two times the letter “y” (why? Y chromosome? a leaning “v” standing on one leaning leg? all these & more) is separated from its word and enlarged to become a visual presence, an occupier of space on the page, in the eye, in the mind. One complete page of the book states that “my brain is a tablet of light.” In this book, this fine work of art, this perfect interplay of writing and photography (both graphic in their own ways), “the sentence is turning into a person.” If you read and see carefully, you will be that person. If you’re looking for something, you will find it here. If you’re not looking for something, you will find it here, where “someone else is standing at the other end of that sentence,” a thought you hear while looking at a dimmed and timeless photograph of water meeting earth meeting clouds, and you gain a sense that the sentence is ongoing and connects everything that you are with everything you have seen, and that it will go on for miles and miles and miles without ending. This book is magic. I want to read it a thousand times.
In Lepson and Crump’s collaborative improvisations, language becomes a playful substance in which we find ourselves furtively embodied, “camped out near a shoulder” or “standing in the middle of a paragraph.” Acts of renaming and comparing create a flux of metamorphoses both ominously curious and sweetly surprised. These exuberant, synesthetic leaps between the visual and the verbal bypass unlikeness, pursuing instead a kind of social dreaming in which everyone is included.
Using pin-hole cameras he constructs himself, Crump, a nationally recognized photographer, goes beyond the picture’s limits to turn city architecture as fluid as a rollercoaster. But in spite of the extreme, almost hallucinatory distortions he works with, Crump retains the dignified, monumental presence in each one. Using toners and bleaches, he crafts a subtle, glowing complexity of color; bronzes, ivories, ochres, at once somber and light-filled.
I am attracted to alternative ways in which cameras see the world.
Paperback: 275 pagesPublisher: BlazeVOX booksPublished: 2007Language: EnglishISBN-10: 1934289191Cover Design: Geoffrey Gatza
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