In his magnum opus, Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon introduces us to the German concept of Brenschluss in the telemetry of the flight of the V2 rocket. The rocket is propelled by its engines and travels along its parabolic arc. At a certain point the engines turn off, this flameout is called brenschluss. At brenschluss the rocket’s ascendancy is checked by gravity, and before it begins to fall to its target on earth, it hesitates for just a moment. After this moment gravity and momentum alone, not a rocket engine, define the inexorable trajectory of descent to its inevitable, calamitous end.
So to do Paul Bobko’s Water Landscapes-Suspended Energy photographs allow us to see that very moment of hesitation when the force of nature that is the ocean wave, ceases to be propelled by the surging forces of the ocean floor. The ocean suddenly lets go and sets it free, it hesitates at this moment of release, then crashes on the shore, liberated, but spent. Bobko shows us this very moment of hesitation, before the explosion. The outline of the explosion is clear and coming, but it hasn’t happened yet, it is, as yet, prelude…the power is still coiled in the curl, frozen for this second. Light comes glowing through that watery tunnel, foam is leaping from its crest, escaping and ecstatic. The menace is limned in the terrifying flexing of its form. It is most exhilarating to see the noun become the verb.