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'Architecture + Beauty' book shows new documentary photos by John Balsom

New photo book by photographer John Balsom featurs disparate images from projects
From the series ‘Lusophony Games’ from Architecture + Beauty (Image credit: John Balsom / GOST Books)

Photographer John Balsom has released a new book Architecture + Beauty, a compendium of personal projects conbining interests in history, documentary and graphic forms. 

The series from Balsom is relatively disparate, ranging from images of diving boards in Australia, cadets on a USSR ship, to coverage of a multinational sporting event.

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Opening with a visual foreword comprising black and white photographs that show deteriorating public diving boards in New South Wales, the book juxtaposes varied images of damaged 1950-60s diving platforms with abstract body parts. 

The second project to feature in Architecture + Beauty comprises a series of portraits taken of naval cadets onboard a four mast German sailing ship (the STS Kruzenshtern, built 1926), that makes three annual training voyages. Balsom spent two days on the ship capturing candids of the cadets unguarded and off-duty during a training exercise in the Bay of Biscay.

Untitled from the series ‘STS Kruzenshtern’ from Architecture + Beauty (Image credit: John Balsom / GOST Books)
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 The Paul R Tregurtha, a different bulk freighter boat, is also pictured in Balsom's book with a focus on the ship's interior. Images show the overlooked details and textures of the mechanics and imperfections of the ship's interior, with traces of human presences that once captained the 'Queen of the Lakes' as the ship is unofficially known as, being the longest ship operating in the Great Lakes, US. 

Shot in Lisbon, Portugal, the final project in the book showcases the Lusophony Games. The games are a multinational, multi-sport event organised by the Association of the Portuguese Speaking Olympic Committees (ACOLOP), specifically for athletes from Portuguese-speaking nations or significant communities. Balsom's images capture the joy, exhaustion, concentration and playfulness of the game's participants.

Untitled from Architecture + Beauty (Image credit: John Balsom / GOST Books)
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Balsom is known for being a portrait and documentary photographer, and his work has been published in publications such as Vogue Japan, Luncheon, ICON Italy, GQ Style, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Man of the World and At Large magazine to name just a few. His commercial clients have included Armani, Montblanc, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Louis Vuitton,  Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas and Jimmy Choo. Balsom continues his work shooting personal documentary projects while regularly travelling between Europe and New York.

Architecture + Beauty by John Balsom has been published by Gost and can be purchased from its website (opens in new tab)at a price of $55 / £40 / AU$76 (approximately).

From the series ‘Lusophony Games’ from Architecture + Beauty (Image credit: John Balsom / GOST Books)
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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.