III by Robin Maddock
British photographer Robin Maddock’s third book, Ill, incorporates three subjects, shot in three cities in the United States. Shot entirely in black and white, the three monochrome subjects take centre stage; a solitary floating sheet of paper, spilt milk, and a ping-pong ball, dropped casually onto sun-bathed sidewalks.
III is part homage to 20th Century American photography, part response to a country already saturated in documentary images, and a visual history well known to us from the ether of both high and low culture. These 64 photographs, a pictorial riddle of small interventions, are an attempt to leave this tradition in some small way.
Previously known for his colour documentary photography in Britain, III might seem an unusual departure for Maddock. Yet this book is a continuation of his solitary walking, and search for simple, quotidian illuminations. Ill reflects a new freedom from a responsibility to represent social specifics. We are invited to see the three elements of traditional reportage; time, subject and place, in playful, vertiginous free fall.