Architecture + Beauty: John Balsom’s book of personal projects finds beauty in unusual places

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Entitled Architecture + Beauty, this collection includes works that capture John’s fascination with history, casting, documentaries and graphic forms. Drawing on a wide range of subjects, including cadets on a training ship from the USSR, the interior of the longest ship operating on the Great Lakes, and a sporting event for Portuguese-speaking countries, this collection is a beautiful showcase for his sharp photographic eye. .

Opening with a visual foreword, which includes a short series of black and white photographs of public diving boards in New South Wales juxtaposed with abstract body parts, the book does an excellent job of setting the tone for the photographer. whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar and GQ to name a few.



Untitled by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom

From the series 'Lusophony Games' by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom



From the series ‘Lusophony Games’ by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom

As well as featuring diving platforms deteriorated by corrosion caused by the salty sea air, the book features portraits of naval cadets embarked aboard the STS Kruzenshtern, a four-masted sailing ship and the second largest traditional sailing ship still in operation. The editor explains that the ship, built in 1926, “was originally a German ship handed over to the USSR in 1946 for war reparations.

“The ship makes three training trips a year, and the uniforms of the 120 cadets on board never leave the ship and are passed from cadet to cadet. Balsom spent two days on the ship during an exercise training in the Bay of Biscay and captured cadets unguarded, on and off duty.”

The STS Kruzenshtern is not the only boat to feature in Architecture + Beauty. The Paul R Tregurtha also makes an appearance, although if you’re familiar with Great Lakes ships in the United States, you’ll know her by her unofficial name, the “Queen of the Lakes.” “Rather than focusing on the ship’s exterior, the photographs focus on neglected interior details and textures, capturing the mechanics, imperfections, and traces of human presence.”

Untitled from the series 'STS Kruzenshtern' by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom



Untitled from the series ‘STS Kruzenshtern’ by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom

Untitled from Architecture + Beauty's 'Paul R. Tregurtha' series © John Balsom



Untitled from Architecture + Beauty’s ‘Paul R. Tregurtha’ series © John Balsom

Untitled from the series 'STS Kruzenshtern' by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom



Untitled from the series ‘STS Kruzenshtern’ by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom

Capping off Architecture + Beauty is a project shot in Lisbon during the Lusophony Games. These images capture the joy, exhaustion, concentration and playfulness of the participants in this multi-sport event. As with all the other personal projects in this book, these photographs are a striking juxtaposition that finds its beauty in some of the most unexpected places.

Comprising 132 pages, with a mix of duotone and color images, Architecture + Beauty is a unique opportunity to delve into the many personal projects of a photography icon. It’s on sale now on the Gost Books website, and the insightful compendium can be ordered now for £40.

From the series 'Lusophony Games' by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom



From the series ‘Lusophony Games’ by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom

Untitled from the series 'STS Kruzenshtern' by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom



Untitled from the series ‘STS Kruzenshtern’ by Architecture + Beauty © John Balsom

Untitled from Architecture + Beauty's 'Paul R. Tregurtha' series © John Balsom



Untitled from Architecture + Beauty’s ‘Paul R. Tregurtha’ series © John Balsom

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