|Notes on URBAN LANDSCAPES
Bill Schwab’s ethereal, dreamlike photographs—a fog-shrouded bridge, a fountain seen at dusk, reeds reflected in the smooth surface of a pond—are paeans to solitude. Given the quiet, meditative quality of the pictures, it’s not surprising that Schwab prefers to photograph at dusk or at dawn, and often in inclement weather, when he’s bound to be alone. What might be surprising is that many of the photographs are taken in and around his native city of Detroit, a place not generally associated with the almost pastoral views found in his images.
Though Schwab has photographed everywhere from California to Iceland, his work includes several ongoing series in the Detroit area, one centering on Belle Isle, an island park in the Detroit River, and another on the industrial Rouge River basin made famous by Charles Sheeler’s photographs of the Ford plant there. Unlike Sheeler’s industrial images, however, there is something almost pictorialist--even romantic--about Schwab’s photographs. The light and atmosphere seem as much the subject of his photographs as a Cyprus tree or a sculpture of a soldier, so that even his urban landscapes pay homage to the natural world.