New York Photo Review
from the NYPR Archives

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Nadel, Burns, Wolf
David Nadel
Burns
Reviewer #1
David Nadel, “Burn #72”

One of the earliest activities of photographers in the 19th century was to go out into the world and bring back images of locations that were both inaccessible and monumental. David Nadel carries that tradition forward in this beautiful collection of images gathered in the northern Rocky Mountains. This is an area of the world where massive forest fires travel over mountainsides, blackening thousands of acres of woodland in giant ‘burns.’ The fires travel quickly, consuming the lighter, dryer parts of the forest, but leaving behind the standing but scarred and blackened tree trunks. The resulting landscape initially appears desolate and devastated to green tree and savannah loving creatures like ourselves, but Nadel has looked more carefully, and brings out the underlying visual poetry that the fire has revealed.

Working in the winter when snow has coated the ground and diffuse sunlight casts no shadows, his photographs are almost entirely made up of the lines drawn by the blackened tree trunks. In the more panoramic scenes the lines define the underlying terrain almost like an acre-sized etching (eg ‘Burn #72’). In the more intimate scenes, the lines form intricate abstract patterns across the print (as in ‘Burn #3’). Although the scenes were shot in large-format color, they are printed almost in monochrome, reflecting, I suspect, the appearance of the scene in the field as augmented slightly in the printing. Although one is reminded at first of Harry Callahan’s high-contrast snow images, Nadel’s images actually include a wide tonal range. As a consequence these images are not infused with Callahan’s more insistent, self-conscious hand. Nadel is content to let the landscape speak for it self.

 by unidentified photographer.
David Nadel, “Burn #3”

Overall, Nadel’s images are everything that could be asked for in this genre: visually sophisticated imagery presented in a straightforward and honest manner, and just a bit awe inspiring.

David Nadel
Burns


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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery