|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
SHIPWRECKS - PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAYS.
Please note: The books are listed for interest only, and not offered for sale.
Images of wrecked ships seem to fascinate many people, and I am no exception. They conjur up all manner of thoughts - to the humanist, it is the trahic loss of life, the businessman may see it from a lost cargo point of view, the early wreckers saw an extension of their life through the scavaging of cargo, the mariner sees the wreck and contemplates his lucky stars that this was not him, and the more recent diver sees them as a source of another mantlepiece souvenir. I shall gather here those books that are predominantly photo portfolios. Needless to say, any book on shipwrecks will include photographs. Those included here are mainly photographs. And where beetter to start with the magnmificent Gibson Collection from the Scilly Islands.
Since the I 7th century, Gibsons have lived on the Scilly Isles. In the early 1860s John Gibson, a seaman, taught himself between voyages to use the very recently invented camera. By 1866 John had quit the sea and set up as a professional, his son, Alexander, a self-taught scholar, joining him in the business a few years later at the age of fourteen. It was Alexander who brought a perfectionism to the arrangement of his pictures and often with great skill re-touched his plates. Alexander's son, James aquaried all the shipwreck plates afte a quarrel which resulted in his father retiring top the mainland. John Gibson died in 1920 at the age of ninety-three; and now Jame's son Frank carries on the tradition of photographing the sea and recording the many dramatic shipwrecks that still occur.
Photography by the Gibsons of Scilly.
Text ny John Fowles.
Published by Jonathan Cape, London, 1974, reprinted 1979 (and maybe later).
Hardcover, dustjacket, landscape format, about forty pages, large generally full page mono pirnts. Blue cloth board has gold embossed image of a shipwreck.
A brilliant collection, fascinating, a true social history. I must say that the most emotional photograph (to me) is a superb study of a coffin being carried at the church of St. Keverne; it really does sum up the tragedy of a shipwreck.
From the fly blurb: It seems inconceivable that the ships illustrated in this book, with their air of permanence, of beauty allied with strength, should have ever met with destruction.Yet the sea has claimed them. The coasts of the Scilly Isles and West Cornwall have probably proved more lethal than any
comparable area in the world. Four generations of the Gibson family of the Scillies, starting with John Gibson in the 1860s, have recorded the last moments of the ships, great and small, beautiful andutilitarian, which have met their end on these treacherous shoals and rocks. This book is a section of the best of their photographs - superb visual epitaphs of maritime disaster which show the Gibsons to be neglected masters of trhe camera. [ps]
Publishers and Distributors
303 Commercial Road, Yarram, Vic 3971, Australia
Phone (03) 5182 5108 International 61 3 5182 5108
homepage, link on graphic.