Abbeville Press, NY
Becom's photographs of the vernacular architecture of Mediterranean villages are startling, powerful and often piercingly beautiful. Poised between abstraction and realism, his images have the sense of inevitability one associates with great paintings. One hundred color photos are wedded to an engaging travel essay that captures the beauty and bewilderment of daily life in Morocco, the love of excess and sense of isolation in the Italian hill towns, the "majestic, dignified, indifferent, and vain" aura of Spain's sun-drenched villages. Typical shots show a stucco housefront brightly washed with color; a weathered shrine; votive offerings; a painted door; a Portuguese wall strewn with roses. While these photographs contain few people, they seem to embody the traditional cultures they lovingly explore. This marvelous book of quiet discoveries ties in with a joint BBC-PBS documentary.