Tuesday, 27 December 2011

New book: ORIGINS - song of Nooitgedacht, a remote valley in the Karoo - Jennifer Gough-Cooper’

If you're looking for a highly impressive coffee table book, this one is full of stunning photography. Read on for more information :

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That photography is an art is undisputed – that the photographer can peel away the layers of time to reveal a unique landscape requires the observation of an artist.

These qualities come together in ORIGINS – song of Nooitgedacht, a remote valley in the Karoo where British photographer Jennifer Gough-Cooper explores the evolution of an ancient valley reaching back millions of years to its creation at the time of Gondwana.


Using her extraordinary talents Jennifer Gough-Cooper reveals in ORIGINS – song of Nooitgedacht, a remote valley in the Karoo, the creation of a landscape which is quintessentially South African. These remarkable photographs, taken with 35 mm negative film, are the result of her close observation of Nature and of Place, offering us a reflective journey back in time.

From her first visit to the valley in 2002 Jennifer Gough-Cooper was captivated by this tranquil landscape with its majestic mountains, great vistas, its transparent streams, turbulent flood waters and the exquisite detail of its rock and flora. The photographs in this volume are presented in the spirit of a song – a melodic line – evoking these natural treasures in tempo with the slow cycles of infinite time at Nooitgedacht: a place truly beyond imagination.


“It was not until later in my exploration of the valley that I found inspiration for the form of the book. One day, certain individual rocks in the landscape caught my attention: the surface of one huge boulder resembled our planet as one might imagine it in its molten state straight from the fire of creation; another was scribbled with lines by a mysterious wayward writer; yet another was host to such an incredible pattern of fiery lichen, it appeared like a painting of galaxies traveling in infinite space. Clearly the valley was defined by rock, the ancient bones of the earth, and blessed with life-giving, pure waters flowing from the mountains. This is the story that I have endeavored to describe with my camera.” Says Gough-Cooper



h e r e  t h e r e  h a d  b e e n  a n  a n c i e n t  s e a

To define this place Fire, Air, Rock and Water are recurrent themes: Fire, in terms of sunlight and lichen; Air, described by atmosphere and morning mist; Rock, in which the valley’s history is embedded; and, not least, Water, the precious and essential source of life and of survival itself. The visual extremes of Water in its mood and movement, its correspondences with Rock, its reflective qualities and its strength with wind to erode, recur in a remarkable variety of images throughout these pages.


Colin Turpin Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, said of Jennifer Gough-Cooper’s book :
“This is a book that I will treasure as a vivid and beautiful realisation of the Nooitgedacht valley. She succeeds in capturing the remarkable features of the region, origins, flora, fauna, rock and water. The book is of special interest to me having grown up in the Karoo.
Jennifer Gough-Cooper demonstrates conclusively the complete wrongness of the description one commonly comes across of the Karoo as a desert or semi-desert region. I think the book is a supreme example of the imaginative and artistic use of photography”



A trackway formed some 250 million years ago by a dicynodont called
Aulacephalodon... at the time of Gondwana, is revealed momentarily by steady erosion...”



With 92 photographs in full colour the attention to detail in the making of the book has resulted in an extraordinary publication. Very close co-operation and communication between the graphic designer, book binder and the printer, ensuring the most exacting printing practice and paper handling prior to binding has a cumulative effect and creates a noticeable overall impression of quality and excellence.  Specialist book binders Graphicraft of Cape Town hand-bound the books and hand-crafted the solander boxes and slip cases for the limited edition books. These were covered in linen cloth.
Published by Wild Almond Press the book comes in three editions, Collector’s Edition (25 copies only) Subscriber’s edition (100 copies) and Standard edition


Jennifer Gough-Cooper has maintained close attachments to South Africa since her first visit as a child. She was brought up in England and studied at Hornsey College of Art in the 1960’s. As an exhibition organizer, she was involved in the Marcel Duchamp retrospective which formed the inaugural show at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1977. Jennifer’s later extensive research of the artist culminated in the book Marcel Duchamp: Work and Life, published for the exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice in 1993.

After an extended visit to Cape Town in 1998, Jennifer held her first exhibition of black and white photographs at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. These photographs, all taken within Kirstenbosch, formed the inaugural art exhibition at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Jennifer Gough-Cooper, with the Scottish artist, Ian Hamilton Finlay, published Paths for an exhibition at Schoenthal in Switzerland. Her book Apropos Rodin inspired by the work of the French sculptor in its setting at the Musée Rodin, Paris, was published in 2006. Selected Rodin photographs have been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art, London, the Musée Rodin, Paris, and the Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica.

Publisher: Wild Almond Press
TITLE: Origins - song of Nooitgedacht, a remote valley in the Karoo
AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: Jennifer Gough-Cooper
PUBLISHER: Wild Almond Press cc:
EDITIONS: 3 – John Rule / Standard Edition
ISBN: 978-0-9814417-5-7
GENRE: Photography
PRICE: £ 45.00
FORMAT: Hardcover with dust jacket
SIZE: 240 x 302mm
PAGES: 128 full colour throughout
PHOTOGRAPHS: 92
WEIGHT: 1.17kg


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