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Nocturnes

2007
Author:

Chris Faust

Nocturnes

The first collection of night photographs from a masterful Midwest photographer

Nocturnes, a beautiful collection of more than seventy tritone photographs, is a visual record of our world as few ever see it: during the nighttime hours. Emphasizing the passage of time as well as the necessity for change, the images reflect our disappearing rural terrain, abandoned urban streets, and aging industrial spaces, recalling aspects of our culture that are fading into the past.

If we read these pictures with the attention and care they deserve, we can see that beyond their obvious beauty Faust’s photographs are also provocative, reminding us of the recent and radical changes in our culture.

Sandra S. Phillips, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

A prominent figure in the Twin Cities art scene, Chris Faust marks the essence of the changing Midwestern landscape by documenting common scenes in an uncommon way. Known for his spectacular panoramic work, Faust is also increasingly admired for his unique night photographs, where he quietly unveils a world we never noticed was there and when the darkest hours evoke a mood of mystery and surrealism. The palette of light and shadow heightens our senses by revealing the stillness and ambiguities of the landscape.

Nocturnes, a beautiful collection of more than seventy tritone photographs, is a visual record of our world as few ever see it: during the nighttime hours. Emphasizing the passage of time as well as the necessity for change, the images reflect our disappearing rural terrain, abandoned urban streets, and aging industrial spaces, recalling aspects of our culture that are quickly fading into the past.

With an affinity for certain old-world practices and tools, Faust works just with ambient light and uses no digital or electronic technology—only classic darkroom processing—allowing all the subtle textures and tones to emerge in his work. Faust’s photographs of the Midwest are shot in a panoramic format with wide, detailed images—spectacular in both their artistry and documentary impact.

Nocturnes

Chris Faust, a resident of St. Paul, is one of Minnesota’s finest photographers. His award-winning images are widely collected and exhibited throughout the region and the country.

Joan Rothfuss is a writer and art historian who was curator of the Walker Art Center for more than seventeen years. She was coeditor of the Walker collection catalogue Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole.

Nocturnes

If we read these pictures with the attention and care they deserve, we can see that beyond their obvious beauty Faust’s photographs are also provocative, reminding us of the recent and radical changes in our culture.

Sandra S. Phillips, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

There is something about Chris Faust’s photographs that people can’t forget. This is particularly true of the nocturnes. Instead of documenting a place, these photographs create a whole new world. We don’t study the pictures, we enter them. We are given a quiet place to wander in reverie.

Alec Soth, photographer

The best of these photographs also yield the pleasure of realizing that beauty lingers where we might not quite expect to find it. Almost always, there is a kind of bisony dignity in Faust’s work, showcasing the grace of largish, awkward, functional things. Because of the size and isolation of the subjects, the landscapes here feel subtly apocalyptic: you can feel the tension between engineering and entropy. Machines are covered in snow, threatened by water, immersed in darkness. As a book, Nocturnes itself is an impressive monument and an efficient machine. Joan Rothfuss’s introduction deftly explicates Faust’s working methods and his place in the greater sweep of art. Brian Donahue’s design gives the landscapes enough room to work, framing the title in a graceful band, and letting the subtleties of Faust’s light show through the type. What appears to be a quadratone printing process beautifully carries Faust’s cargo: exquisite shades of black and white and grey and silver.

Rain Taxi Review of Books

The book itself, with its panoramic proportions is a beautifully realized work of design, down to the typography of its title, whose individual letters, shading through gradients of gray, acknowledge Fausts’s skill in delineating with grains of tarnished silver the myriad shades of the night.

Architecture Minnesota

Nocturnes is a handsomely produced book and an invitation to take a closer look at Faust’s work.

Rochester Post-Bulletin