Author(s): Tim Coghlan
A limited supplement volume to Melbourne-based designer and publisher Tim Coghlan's 2018 book Hell's Gates – which was published in an edition of 666 copies – Hell's Gates: Notre Damned, An Act of God again draws on the ubiquity of shared images depicting the burning and decimation of a house of worship. As the book's title suggests, here, Coghlan directs his strategic Google Images searches to photographs of the blaze that felled Paris's famed Notre Dame cathedral in April 2019. Like its sibling edition, Notre Damned, An Act of God smirkingly riffs off the visual languages and attitudes of black metal to question the iconography, implications and democracy of images. Amidst the billowing smoke and embers, we're left to ponder just how mythology and notoriety come to affect the way we read photographs and make meaning.