Muse by Gail Goers
Muse by Gail Goers
Gail Goers uses her 4×5 view camera to amplify a sense of place. Her latest book, Muse, released by Daniel 13 in 2014, examines the solitary spaces of modern day cities.
For Muse, Goers traveled to cities in both China and Germany, landscapes that are separated by thousands of miles and even more cultural norms, but share commonalities when viewed through the photographer’s lens. In both locales, the pictures are filled with loneliness, maybe, but also potential: a ship, unmoving, in a harbor still as glass: a table with just one chair; apartment buildings rising up on the edge of a rice paddy; high-rises half built and empty, juxtaposed with a lifeless lake in the foreground. Have the people gone? Or not yet come? Every page is a mystery with spaces to be filled in.
The title, Muse, functions on multiple levels. That oft-used term so frequently refers to the object of the male gaze, to an elusive angel that must be summoned, or to a nude model. Goers offers a spin on this idea. Instead of female nudes, she presents stark landscapes – frequently cold, largely man-made, almost always prepared for, but devoid of, people. The photographer invites the viewer to shift his or her understanding of the word “muse” from a noun to a verb. She challenges the viewer to muse upon the photographs, to meditate on these quiet spaces outside of the pop, whiz, glamour, and speed of the modern city. In image after image, page after page, China morphs into Germany and Germany dissolves into China as the photographer jumps space while she stills time.
Goers was in her mid-twenties when she took her first photography class, and fell into immediate and irreparable love with the medium. She usually makes photographs with a Speed Graphlex 4×5 view camera whose heft requires her to pause — physically as well as mentally — to focus on the world. Her work can be seen at gailgoers.com.
Softcover, 11.5 x 12.5 in.
Color photography; 72 pgs.
Limited edition run of 500