Sites of Impact
Meteorite Craters Around the World
Publication date 5/1/2009
10.25 x 13 inches (26.0 x 33.0 cm), Hardcover
144 pages, 85 b/w illustrations
Carton qty: 8;
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Available for online reading at ebrary.com (subscription or short-term rental required)
The Earth is pockmarked with the evidence of ancient collisions: huge craters blasted into its surface by thousands of pounds of meteorite fragments traveling at approximately 50,000 miles per hour. Ranging in age from those formed in this century to billion-year-old specimens, the Earth's meteorite craters are eroding at a rapid pace. The best-preserved impact sites are often difficult to access--buried under ice, obscured by foliage, or baking in desert climes. These desolate landscapes are connected to another place outside of our world, and for photographer Stan Gaz they are sites of pilgrimage--steps in a journey begun as a curious young boy accompanying his father on geological expeditions, and culminating in a six-year journey traveling the globe in search of these sites, much of that time spent leaning his twenty-pound, handheld Hasselblad medium format camera out of an open-sided helicopter.
The eighty-five astounding black-and-white photographs collected in Sites of Impact transcend the purely documentary and intersect the sublime. They are large-scale, aerial landscapes infused with a child's sense of wonder and an adult's preoccupation with the fragility of life. Like the sites themselves--natural monuments to explosive destruction and concomitant creation--the images speak to the vulnerability of the Earth and the significance of our place in the universe. In addition to photographs of the craters and their surrounding landscapes, Gaz includes photographs of actual meteorites and of his own carefully crafted sculptures that recreate their often dynamic form and mimic their specific mineral content. Anecdotal passages about the artist's experiences photographing each crater are interspersed with scientific data regarding the crater's location, age, structure, and condition. An essay by Earth scientist Christian Koeberl summarizes what we know--and do not know--about meteorite impact events, while an essay by photo historian Robert Silberman places Gaz's pictures within the traditions of landscape photography and the aesthetics of the sublime.
Stan Gaz is an artist who works in the media of photography, sculpture, film, and performance. He lives in Brooklyn and is represented by Clamp Art in SoHo.
Christian Koeberl,professor at the University of Vienna, is a leading scientist in the filed of impact research, with over twelve books to his credit and an asterioid named after him.
Robert Silberman is a Professor of Art History at the University of Minnesota and writes frequently on photography, contemporary crafts, and cinema.
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Shooting Craters Around the World, one piece:
"Stan Gazs big black-and-white aerial photographs of meteor-impact sites in Namibia, Australia, South Africa, and elsewhere appear prehistoric; with the exception of a crater in Arizona and its attendant industrial sprawl, there are no signs of human habitation. To read the full review on kimmico.typepad.com click HERE. "
New and Noteworthy, Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin:
"Sites of Impact features 85 astounding black-and-white photographs of meteor-impact sites, large scale, aerial landscapes infused with a childs sense of wonder and an adults preoccupation with the fragility of life. Like the sites themselves - natural monuments to explosive destruction and concomitant creation - the images speak to the vulnerability of the Earth and the significance of out place in the universe."
— Linda Chappell
Footprints of the Stars, utne:
"Photographer Stan Gaz had a boyfriend obsession with meteorite craters. He calls them footprints of the stars, and when he stands on the edge of them he feels like hes standing inside a cethedral. When he started talking about photographing impact sites from the air, a friend suggested a remote-controlled camera mounted on a helicopter. But Gaz wanted his camera in his hands, and there was only one way to do that: leaning toward an open aircraft door strapped in only by seatbelts."
Crater of the Gods, National Geographic Adventure:
"To capture the photos, Gaz learned his Hasselblad Superwide out the open doors of helicoptors and a small plane over the Arctic, the Southwest, Australia, and Africa. His harnesses, he says, were usually little more than car seat belts, and one time, he looked up to find his pilot sound asleep. But he got the shots, stark black-and-white images that stare down seemingly moments after impact when the world is scattered with ash, when its hard to tell if were seeing the end or just another beginning."
The Morning News:
"The new book Sites of Impact (Princeton Architectural Press) by artist Stan Gaz brings together 85 gorgeous portraits of impact sitespockmarks on the Earth marking where the planets been struck by meteorite fragments. In our conversation below, he recounts some of his adventures flying to remote territories, including the time when his helicopter pilot fell asleep while they hovered over a crater..."
— Rosecrans Baldwin
Reference & Research Book News, Sci Tech Book News:
"Gaz, a photographer and artist based in New York, took on the task of photographing some of the Earth's major meteorite craters. This oversized volume (10.5x13<">) presents the results, in full-page, two-page, and some fold-out b&w plates of superb quality. The stunning photos are aerial views, some taken from a great distance. Multiple views taken from all angles are included for each site, displaying the craters and their surroundings, and giving the viewer an impression of the power and scale of the impact. Two essays accompany the photos: Christian Koeberl (U. of Vienna, Austria), a specialist in meteorite impacts, writes on the discovery of the craters and their role in the development of the Earth; Robert Silberman (art history, U. of Minnesota) writes on the photos themselves."
— Eithne OLeyne
The New Yorker:
"Gaz's big black-and-white aerial photographs of meteor-impact sites in Namibia, Australia, South Africa, and elsewhere appear prehistoric; with the exception of a crater in Arizona and its attendant industrial sprawl, there are no signs of human habitation. Or maybe these images anticipate the end of history, a time when the earth returns to moonlike desolation, its skies black and its barren surface gouged. Gaz's decidedly lunar landscapes may not be sci-fi fantasies -- he took them hanging out of a hovering helicopter -- but they're almost unrecognizable as our home planet. Magnificent and frightening, they suggest an abrupt beginning and a shattering end. "
— Vince Aletti
"Earth has 170 documented scars from falling space rocks. A single meteorite can leave a wound as big as 236 miles wide (like South Africa's Vredefort Dome). For his debut monograph, photographer Stan Gaz captured these craters by pointing his 20-pound Hasselblad rig out of helicopters worldwide. The result is this epic and sometimes creepy 85-picture survey in black and white."
"Sites of Impact not only takes us way beyond photographer Stan Gaz but also rockets us into outer space as we imagine the forceful trajectories of meteorites that have collided with Earth. Gaz's stunning black-and-white aerial studies of these impact craters show us what millions of years look like and how these visible remnants of destruction and decay permit scientists to study and speculate about the planet's geological and biological histories. These craters, in Gaz's words, "are footprints of the stars... the circle of life, writ large; physically, environmentally, and metaphorically." Complementing Gaz's thoughts about the journeys he made for this tremendous project, impact-cratering expert Christian Koeberl outlines the history of scientific inquiry regarding these sites. And Robert Silberman situates Gaz's work in the continuum of landscape photography and its efforts to capture the sublime. Their informative essays provide context for the work, but Gaz's eye for conveying the magnitude of the unknown requires no explanation. These locations existed before language and will doubtless exist well beyond it. Getting lost in Gaz's photographs is an intimidating experience, but they impart a greater respect for the natural world. They remind us of humanity's status as a blip on geology's timeline."
The Midwest Book Review:
"Both photography and science libraries will appreciate the full-page, full-color displays in SITES OF IMPACT, a survey of asteroid collision points around the planet. Aerial expeditions by photographer Stan Gaz offers images of the sites in black and white in an oustanding presentation."
— Diane Donovan
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