When he first visited the Czech Republic in the 1990s, Matthew Monteith was taken with the details of ordinary life in this country in transition. Captivated by the ineffable mood, a sense of place he made repeated visits and in 2001-3 traveled throughout the country photographing with the hope of creating a contemporary allegory that reflected ideals he had found in old postcards and Czech photography from the 1920s and 30s. With their restraint, brilliant color, and thoughtful attention to the uncanny within the everyday, Monteiths photographs parallel a venerable tradition staked out by masters such as Joel Sternfeld and embodied in contemporary work by practitioners such as Alec Soth. Though at times foreboding, Monteiths work is pervaded by an energetic optimism and humor. Meticulously composed and beautifully produced images focus on individuals, landscapes, oddly stilled cityscapes, and the worn traces of the country's long and complex history. "Czech Eden" is not a literal description or documentation, but rather a parable in which the viewer encounters individuals and environments that are cohesive yet contradictory, beautiful but unsettling.
Buy Matthew Monteith: Czech Eden book by Matthew Monteith from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(241mm x 279mm x 15mm)
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