John Gossage – Episode 66

In this episode of PhotoWork with Sasha Wolf, Sasha is joined by photographer John Gossage to discuss John’s long and storied life in photography. John talks at length about his encounters, both positive and negative, with some of photography’s towering historical figures from Lisette Model to Edward Steichen. John discusses the origins of his renowned work, The Pond, and how getting the book published was a real challenge.

John Gossage (1946- ) born in Staten Island, New York is an artist who has, more than most contemporary photographers, become noted for his intellectually engaging, subversive and well-crafted artist books and other publications. In them the artist utilizes under-recognized elements of the urban environment: unused and abandoned patches of land; refuse and detritus; barbed wire; graffiti and the like, to explore themes as disparate as surveillance, memory and the relationship between architecture and power. “ Gossage is always about the luxuriance of what goes unnoticed, what goes unseen until his pictures call your attention to it,” wrote Gus Blaisdell in The Romance Industry, ( Nazraeli Press, 2001). Gossage photographs that which has just occurred, from markings on a wall to a table after a meal, to remind us that we may have already forgotten it happened or that we were there. By asking us look at what we have misplaced or abandoned he brings us face to face with the present as it becomes history. Throughout the 1980s Berlin became Gossage’s overriding focus. Berlin, with its Wall, and unwanted histories – both forgotten and remembered – became the place where Gossage first explored the ideas that have come to symbolize his very personalized style of photographic storytelling. BERLIN IN THE TIME OF THE WALL was published by Loosestrife Editions in 2004.In 2010, Aperture re-issued and updated The Pond, a groundbreaking visual meditation on Thoreau’s stay at Walden Pond.

This podcast is sponsored by picturehouse + thesmalldarkroom.