GHOST VARIATIONS by John Brian King – 21 cm x 17 cm softcover, 64 pages (46 color photos)
There is a doomed, gloomy, yet ethereal feeling to Ghost Variations. As the photographer walks with a crude black-and-white instant film camera through the California desert at night, the camera’s harsh flash illuminates scrub brush, rising rocks, valleys of sand, bits of debris that are traces of human involvement in nature. Some parts of the landscape are in sharp focus, others fade out in a blur—everything is in shades of black and gray. Initially it seems this must be the setting of some death, that these photographs are evidence; but they depict no crime. They show to the viewer their own obsession with narrative in the face of a landscape that is incomprehensible; the beauty of the photographs, accentuated by this sense of randomness, document an aimless, enigmatic state of wandering.