Reviewed by Christopher J. Johnson for Photo-Eye
Building a narrative is difficult work. Building a narrative with nothing but photographs is very difficult work but, Some(w)here by Andres Gonzalez aims at doing just that. Some(w)here is the story of a modest journey. It attempts, with varying degrees of success, to portray the journey in an arc. As the book’s title implies the details are vague. Some(w)here is the story of an anonymous geography populated by anonymous people and buildings. Gonzalez’s style is conducive to achieving this. His pictures are casual, uncomplicated and soft. He chooses his details with the same taste for symbols our dreams have: birds in flight, windows, people walking through the rain with umbrellas. He favors mist and drizzle, snow and fog, the blur of lights moving and fluoresce.
Some(w)here might be more immediately poignant without its aim at a narrative arc. The pictures themselves hold one another together by their very quality and don’t need the extra padding of a story. The design of the book itself is slick and attractive but, I’d like to see it a little bit bigger. There are several two page spreads in Some(w)here but, sadly, most are marred by having a central subject matter which is split by the pages’ crease. This is a frustrating drawback. The pages themselves are on matte paper, which increases the dreamlike nature of the book. Many pages are cut short, or perhaps a better way of putting it would be that some pages are like squares and some are like rectangles. It's an unusual feature that I liked and Gonzalez grouped these segments of various sized pages very neatly so that each one feels like a different and proliferated sequence.
Some(w)here almost leaves one with the sense that these are photographs left out of the family album; pictures that were shot in a moment and the context of which slipped as quickly from the memory. It is this quality that makes or breaks the book as a whole. Those who like landscape, portraiture, architecture, or documentary will not be intrigued. Those, however, who like the paintings of Redon and the films of Bergman or the surreal dream poems of Breton will find this book quite to their liking.—CHRISTOPHER J. JOHNSON