A Walk in the Woods is a book of photographs taken over the course of the last two years as a sort of visual journal while working in New York, and spending time outdoors in the Catskills and Northern Michigan.
That these are part of a visual journal means that these images were taken intuitively, without regard for subject. The photos are “about” something inasmuch as they can be described on visual terms: a night sky shattered across a dark tree canopy; a landscape spreading before the hood of a car; a dusky interior illuminated by a single point of light, reflected back in a three-sided mirror.
Rather than offering the facts of a particular place, they offer the sense of being there at a particular moment in time – the brief moment that sun passes through a narrow clearing; a waterfall emerging from around a bend; a construction project in the moment before occupancy. That the photos often lack a clear focal point lends them a feeling of suspended animation like a stage set devoid of actors. As such, the photos stand out as scenes from a life, but without any of the usual sentiment (notwithstanding a few sunset photos).
The book comprises a series of loose pairings, which are organized based on the compositional qualities of each photograph, and it unfolds along similarly natural lines. Readers are invited to follow the book sequentially, or to flip between sets to draw further pairings.
Matthew Ransom is an architect in New York City. He received his Masters from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, and the University of Kansas School of Architecture. He has worked both domestically and abroad, in New York and Paris. He has been an invited speaker and critic at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the New Inc Incubator, and GSAPP Columbia University. Matthew is the co-founder and Design Director of Overhead, an architecture practice founded in 2018.