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Sites of Impact: Meteorite Craters Around the World [Hardcover]

by Stan Gaz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 20, 2009 156898815X 978-1568988153 1
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 accessburied 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 pilgrimagesteps 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 themselvesnatural monuments toexplosive destruction and concomitant creationthe 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 knowand do not knowabout 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 --The New Yorker, May 20,2009

Stan 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." --One Piece

"Located in relatively barren landscapes, free of forests or other obscuring vegetation, these empty, isolated sites of impact have some of the vast and heartless grandeur that artist Rockwell Kent found in the Arctic, and the magnificent desolation that astronaut Buzz Aldrin found on the Moon. Stan Gaz, the man who trekked around the globe to photograph these places expresses this best: These sites of impact are places caugt between our dreams and reality. They are footprints of the stars, left in the sand for us to explore. They represent simultaneous destruction and creation, death and life, past and future. They are the circle of life, writ large; physically, environmentally, and metaphorically." --Seed

"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 cathedral. 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 seat belts." --Utne

"To capture the photos, Gaz learned his Hasselblad Superwide out the open doors of helicopters 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." --National Geographic Adventure

"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." --Wired Magazine

"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 Millions

"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 outstanding presentation." -- Diane Donovan --The Midwest Book Review

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. --Sci Tech Book News

"Sites of Impact features 85 astounding black-and-white photographs of meteor-impact sites, 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 out place in the universe." --Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

Review

"The new book Sites of Impact (Princeton Architectural Press) by artist Stan Gaz brings together 85 gorgeous portraits of "impact sites"--pockmarks on the Earth marking where the planet's 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

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Archit.Press; 1 edition (May 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156898815X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568988153
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 10.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more detail July 14, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great subject, but a heads up for you readers out there. The photos are black and white. Sometimes that can be a plus, giving a ghostly or otherworldly feel, but sometimes it is a minus given the seeming lack of detail and sharpness seen in the living color photos you can see elsewhere, like on the web. (They are on the web...so get them there...here you have something unique) A few are really extraordinary, several very interesting, some far less so, in my opinion. No photographer wows you on every page. The book deals with 10 craters. Only 34 pages are mainly text. (4 pages of this are interesting field notes of the photographer, Stan Gaz, about the experience of doing the project, 10 pages are by Robert Silberman giving an interpretation on the author's photographs, and the other 10 pages by another contributor, Christian Koeberl, giving a brief, but nicely done intro to impact craters in general) The rest of this large dimension coffee table book (over 100 pages more) is composed of photos without much comment. It is not a book you will go to to read about these craters as there is little written about them. It's chief value is in some striking (many aerial) photographs in an ethereal black and white composition, taken with great use of light etc... and then Silberman's thought provoking comments on Gaz's art. You should really, really enjoy this interesting book, more so, I think, if you know what you are going to get in the mail before you open the box expecting color and expansive commentary. I do not mean to talk you out of a purchase, only prepare you for the real treat this book is.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars cool but disappointing February 22, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
extremely cool pictures.

I bought it knowing that is was primarily black and white, but was disappointed nonetheless.

its good for the coffee table, but not breathtaking enough to go back to it after skimming through it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prehistoric images November 11, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was interested in this book because I worked with D.W. Arthur, a Planetary Geologist with the U.S.G.S. in the 1970's, who was compiling a world atlas of "Astroblemes" (ancient impact structures). As far as I know it was never published. It was much more of a catalog that this book. I had always hoped that it looked more like "Sites of Impact", but it was a "Scientific Work and didn't need to look appealing to the user", to quote Mr. Arthur!!

This is a large format, beautiful book with outstanding, artistically created imagery. It does NOT have much technically related text with regard to the 10 selected impact structures, they are well known enough that the geologic information regarding them can be found elsewhere.

The images are very similar to images taken of other Solar System members (Mercury, Mars, our own Moon) and give a sense of isolation to the features depicted. I've spent ground time at several of these sites and the aerial views fill in a gap in my knowledge of them.

This is an artistic treatment of a scientific subject. It is NOT a textbook of impact sites. There are several other titles that fit that bill.
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