Louis Baltz

His solution in the Prototypes — which were not conceived as a closed series, and were first published together only in 2005 — is more unusual, and perhaps more unstable in its attempt to straddle the photo-art divide of those years. Baltz reduced the space of his pictures to near total flatness, working against the effect of perspectival depth conveyed by camera lenses and their built-in spatial curvature; he then alternatively contravened and maximized the photosensitivity of negative and paper in printing his images. Finally, Baltz mounted many of his prints in such a way that they became small sculptural reliefs. At every stage, in fact, Baltz acted to set up an internal tension between his photographs as images and objects, such that the viewer is caught between looking into a picture and looking at a print (or a printed page). Standing in front of a Prototype, or looking at one in a book, means having one’s gaze alternatively pulled in and pushed back outward, absorbed and dispersed over a series of surfaces: print, mount or page, wall, and room. It is difficult to get lost in a Prototype, which makes it correspondingly easier, in looking at these pictures, to be restored to a consciousness of one’s place in the world. 

— Witkovsky, Matthew S. “Photography’s Objecthood.” Louis Baltz, The Prototype Works. Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2011.