Rick Dingus, Shifting Views & Changing Places: The Photography of Rick Dingus. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016. 224 pp. Hardcover $34.95.
For over four decades Rick Dingus has been producing what Lucy Lippard aptly terms “straight and altered photographs,” images that document the world as it is all the while stripping away the documentation itself to force the viewer to question what is meant by the very idea of the world-as-it-is. Centered in place without being limited to only one place, devoted to landscape without being limited only to the land, driven by an expansive curiosity without being only curious, this is a body of work too broad for comfortable categorization --which is why the layout of this book is so welcome.
A collaboration among editor, photographer, and publisher, the book provides just enough structure and guidance to permit the reader to sort through a remarkable lifetime of work without ever being heavy-handed or pretentious. There is a nice rhythm of word-image-word, beginning with Jurovics’s introductory piece as it sets not only the context for the whole but also prepares us for the first series of photographs, Dingus’s work in the Rephotographic Survey Project of the late 1970s. Peter Briggs’s interview follows, probing the photographer’s creative process as an introduction to his altered images which leaves us ready for Lippard’s fine critique of Dingus’s art as a whole. Four other groups of images fill out the book, separated in the middle by Shelley Armitage’s delightful essay which concerns, in her words, “breaking the boundaries between photograph and subject space.”
The book itself is delightful, too, worth every penny of its modest cover price. Coming from a press that prides itself in its art and photography titles, the book shows its pedigree with a comfortable, inviting design that serves both word and the superb prints. It belongs in the library of anyone interested in photography, place, or art.
Texas Tech University