cover image Ghostplay


Rebecca Kai Dotlich, . . powerHouse, $35 (156pp) ISBN 978-1-57687-271-0

As Holborn points out in his brief editorial note, this "is not a book about college football." This is a curious claim, given that photographer Payson has produced a book entirely composed of shots of his television screen during college football broadcasts, but even a casual glance at the images within bears out Holborn's statement. The third in a trilogy of sports-themed photographic projects, along with Bobcats and Gladiators (which feature images of a girls' softball team and screen shots of televised professional basketball games, respectively), this volume places the typical weekend gridiron contest in the realm of abstraction. In fact, the more abstract images are also the most effective; overlapping and blurred television graphics create eerie frozen-time effects, and players, arrested in mid-tackle, become formless wraiths. Unfortunately, far too many of these photographs look exactly like what they are: pictures of people on television. While one is tempted to presume that these pictures of corporate logos or foolish-looking sportscasters are meant to make some statement about the intertwining of commodity, personality and violence, what exactly that criticism might be is left to the reader. The result is an uneven collection that alternates between images of compelling, dreamlike beauty and affectless pictures of someone's TV. (Jan.)