Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Book Worship Volume VII

Deborah Turbeville’s Newport Remembered

Firstly we must state that this is a love letter of sorts, to the genius of Deborah Turberville and to all things beautiful and sublime. This book cast a spell on us from the moment we saw it and is truly a favorite from our personal library. Largely rendered in sepia with clever use of rough edges, pins and masking tape, Turbeville explores the hazy roomscapes of the Gilded Age and grants them the mystery and otherworldly air that they so richly (no pun intended) deserve.

This book is a photographic journey through the turn of the century mansions located in Newport, Rhode Island. Of special note are the photographs of the Breakers in its glorious Renaissance styled majesty and of the breathtaking Marble House, which has (for better or worse) come to epitomize the Gilded Age. If you are looking for a rant about excessive opulence, obscene self indulgence and the general wickedness of the wealthy you had best look elsewhere (we are sure you need not look far these days). The fore mentioned issues simply do not pertain to the point at hand. Beauty and grandeur exist in their own right and are (while a luxury) beneficial to the human spirit.

We have seen many and various images of the residences of the Gilded Age. In our humble opinion, Deborah Turbeville’s are the first contemporary photographs to capture their true ethereal essence. Reminiscent of a forbidden glimpse into a lavish Fey Court where, if you were to partake in the merriment you will be trapped forever (we would gladly oblige…)

Turbeville’s photographs pull you into this enchantment with her expert use of depth of field, soft focus and double exposure. We are humbled by what is perceived through her eyes, and then translated through the camera lens. Whether the portrayal of minute detail that would otherwise be lost in a sea of opulence or the capturing of sweeping panoramas that a mere mortal could never confine to a single frame, each image is entirely enthralling…

Deborah Turberville’s Newport Remembered
Text by Louis Auchincloss
© 1994 Harry N. Abrams Inc. New York

You, who like the moon at night
Haunted my mortal heart...
You who made these ancient walls
Shine like divine marble

(“Mesmerized” by Celtic Frost)


{MaisonClassique} said...

Thanks for sharing! Looks like a great book!

Seraph + Splendor said...

It is truly one of our favorites!


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