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Photographs by Eric Payson
Hardcover, 8.75 x 6.75 inches, 156 pages, 75 four-color photographs
Beginning with Bobcats, depicting the rites of passage of a girls’ softball team, and moving to Gladiators, displaying
basketball in a combative pit of racial divide, photographer
Eric Payson has gone one step further in his exploration of the media and America’s obsession with sports as entertainment, voyeurism, and violence with Ghostplay.
In Payson’s electrifying new work, college football’s raw beauty rises to the surface in photographs taken directly from the television screen; images morph into each other and expressions are magnified as they are frozen in time. Ghostplay examines the media that transmits it all, as the broadcasters and corporate sponsors appear as much a part of the game as the athletes and coaches. Interspersed with intrusive news bulletins, overeager cheerleaders, anxious spectators, and seemingly malicious data on the athletes’ injuries, college football appears to be a forum for adolescent violence and pervasive adult greed. In these images, the game dissolves as the ghost in the machine of the American media is captured by Payson’s camera. Ghostplay reveals the suspicion and intrigue lurking between the stadium seats, played out in the television control rooms, and hovering in the lower levels of our consciousness.
Eric Payson is a photographer and performance artist. Solo exhibitions of his photographs have been mounted at Galerie Bodo Niemann, Berlin and Rene Fotouhi, East Hampton, New York. As the third piece in a trilogy of books by Eric Payson, Ghostplay follows Gladiators and Bobcats (powerHouse Books, 2004 and 2002 respectively). He lives in New York and Tucson, Arizona.
Mark Holborn is an editor and author working between London and New York. He has produced books with artists and photographers including William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Irving Penn, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Holborn is the author of several books on Japan and Japanese art, including Beyond Japan (Jonathan Cape, 1991) and Black Sun: The Eyes of Four (Aperture, 1986). He has also written for and edited books such as Gladiators and Bobcats by Eric Payson and The Babies by Polly Borland (powerHouse Books, 2004, 2002, and 2001 respectively).