Anton Kusters – Mono No Aware

 

Anton Kusters

Mono No Aware

Hey.

Here I am again, presenting you with a little piece of what’s inside my mind. A new book about something that I’ve been thinking of for quite a while now… and yet again, I found the inspiration in Japan to bring it all together.

Mono No Aware’ もののあはれ is a Japanese term used to describe an awareness of the fleeting moments in life. A ‘gentle sadness’ for them passing, so to speak. I believe that the exact memory of any important moment a person decides to keep, slowly fades in time, and slowly gets replaced by the significance of that particular moment to that particular person… like a trigger that remains, even long after the specific moment itself is forgotten.

To get to the heart of the book, I need to provide a little history… In my previous project ‘Yakuza’, I photographed the Japanese mafia for two years and published a book about it. If you remember, most of it happened right here on burn, as a matter of fact.

 

 

The thing is, ‘Yakuza’ was literally my very first project as a photographer. I had no idea how to do or handle anything, let alone how to take on a serious long term project. So David mentored me right here… and the project became a real roller coaster: I worked for a year with my brother in Tokyo to get access, and subsequently spent two years shooting there. And then designed, produced, published, marketed and sold the book… and launched it all here on burn of course. Oh and the exhibits with their custom installation, they were a whole different ball game that lasted for two years too… the last one finishing just a few weeks ago in december.

And this was just my first project. So yes… safe to say my whole life got turned upside down and I felt the absolute necessity to balance it all. Stay sane. I turned around and pointed my camera in the opposite direction, and tried to capture moments that I saw passing that I felt I could not let go. Yes… deep down I know those moments are always kind of private… but I do believe they represent a more universal longing of any person to hold on to moments that are important to him or her, in any way he or she can…

… and my language just happens to be photography. (and carrying around little objects in my pockets of course)

 

 

I guess you’ve gathered by now: ‘Mono No Aware’ is a book to reflect upon. Kind of esoteric. Maybe a little like a winter EP. A cosy couch, fire going, hot cup of cocoa, blanket, notebook, and big bold plans for the future.

The book as an object is crucial to the story. It’s a hand assembled, and requires you to sit down and take your time. I designed the binding to be four LP style sleeves, all stitched together, to hold the harmonica folded chapters in place. You can take out the chapter pages, open them out completely or hang them up on your wall if you wish, and look at the whole story in a very different way. It’s really quite a unique object… to get a good grasp you should watch the video “book leaf through” below.

I’ve printed just 750 copies, of which the first 50 are a super special limited edition version*.

So there you go. I’m yet again presenting a little piece of what’s inside my mind…

– anton

www.antonkusters.com
instagram.com/antonkusters

Here’s a video of the book leaf through:


Buy the book:

 

*About the limited edition: the first 50 copies are signed and numbered, with an extra, fifth LP record sleeve inside, containing three unique signed editioned prints. These prints do not appear in the regular book, but are part of the project as a whole.

 

 

Bio

Anton is a certified rabbit hole jumper and long distance staring expert. It says so on his business card. His very first photographic project ‘Yakuza’ turned into a book right here on burnmagazine.org for everyone to see, with the help of all the readers and the relentless mentorship of David Alan Harvey. The book sold out twice, the exhibit traveled the globe for two years, and the story has been published worldwide in no less than sixty-seven magazines along the way. Now there’s ‘Mono No Aware’, his vision on passing moments in life. And yes, he’s nervous for what’s next.

 

 

41 Responses to “Anton Kusters – Mono No Aware”


  • Nice to see something that’s non-verbally creative without being cliché. Also something so nicely sequenced. Flirts a bit with being maudlin, but doesn’t quite cross that line. Book looks great, though I’m sure the kids will ask “what’s an lp?”

  • This is so cool.This plays like beautiful song !

  • GORGEOUS! :)…you know Anton, in many ways i prefer this to Yakuza…then again, i prefer the abstract and the lyrical to the literal….it looks gorgeous and love the idea of the record sleeves as long as the design isnt too cumbersome…the tricky thing: how much concept of design is too much concept when in the end a book is about the pictures and the silent negotiation adn relationship the viewer has to the pictures/story/sequence…anyway, looking forward to seeing it…Yakuza still sits on my old bookshelf at my old apt w/M…..

    what i love about the book is it really seems more like an ode…and ode to photographers who you’ve enjoyed, been inspired by, recreated…a book of dialogue with them…i recognize many in the pics…and maybe that ‘explains’ the variety of visual identities it seems to have rather then one authorial visual language….a kind of conversation with both the moments and the photographers who’ve had an impact…

    congrats Anton….you’ve come a long long way since Look3 workshop and Mexico workshop! :)…

    happy happy and proud of you! :)

    hugs
    b

  • MICHAEL
    thanks… and yes quite funny we literally *are* the last generation that knows the lp record :)

    ANDREW
    as a matter of fact, the following song has been the main song playing during the making of it all – by The Bony King of Nowhere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC6ntKk2h-E (ending with the garden full of flowers)

    BOB
    you’ve hit the nail on the head again… Yakuza was super literal while Mono is based on a thought…

    I don’t know if you know but I struggled for quite some time to tell the story (I wrote a lot about it on my blog)… I spent over a year making the book only to find out that the story I *thought* I was photographing did not appear in the images at all. Tough call. I had to start all over again. But in hindsight, I’m glad I did.

    The road that needs to be traveled is the road that needs to be traveled… And now I can see that reflected in the book as well.

    great being here again talking to you guys… hugs to all :)

    a

  • Three images! And wow! I mean I have looked at the first three images only. Got a big project going on with a client and am dropboxing images back and forth and so it took those images a long time each to load and I am giving up for now. But wow! Those three images! I will be back when done.

  • Continuing the thought, I wish more people put that kind of effort into sequencing their photo essays. Or maybe they do, and just aren’t quite so skilled at it. Sticking to the LP theme, back in the day, musicians spent ridiculous amounts of time and creative energy getting the track order just right on their albums, and often left off songs that were very good, but just didn’t fit. It’s always possible I’m seeing things that just aren’t there, but in this essay I think we can follow the circles and lines and see a progression from one photo to the next that makes visual sense. And that kind of thing is not just a parlor trick. Done right, it deepens the enjoyment, and hopefully the understanding, of the whole.

  • Anton…
    I haven’t finished looking at the images…I had to stop and write this comment… This is brilliant you have what the Spanish call “Duende”… Soul, you shoot from the stomach… I find this work highly inspiring… I don’t want to go to work tomorrow morning, don’t want to wait till 3pm to grab my camera…I want to go out now… Brilliant work and I’m now going back to the slideshow.

  • MICHAEL

    Yes indeed it is very intentional and a lot of effort has been put into it. Diego Orlando played an hugely important role here, I involved him in the early stages and he did show me things that were there that I would have never realised by myself. He basically perfected the sequence. I was often absolutely amazed to even find such a flow in there, as you can imagine I never shot it intentionally with that in mind.

    And your comparison to choosing songs on a record is absolutely right (as far as i can tell, I’m not a musician). I was at times worried of the story becoming a “collection of single images” instead of an “album” so to speak… I guess this could be also the fear a musician would feel.

    The book itself is obviously sequenced differently than this online essay, but for both instances I feel it is as close to perfect as it can get.

  • FROSTFROG
    I’ll be patiently waiting here :)

  • PAUL

    Thanks for the kind words… and if nothing else than that this can inspire you to go out and shoot now, by all means, do so… because the slideshow will still be here when you get back, and the book even longer… just don’t forget to show me what you’ve come up with :)

  • To me Instagram/tumblr etc altered the role of “the fleeting moments in life” the “I” online and created a realm of image mediocrity.Strong topical single image or those that are aesthetically powerful seems to hold their own…………essays seem have lost their online potency.
    After viewing the video it seems that it all is really about the book………

  • Really like it! As others have said, the implementation (design, sequencing, photography) is brilliant. Though, I have to see the book to parse the reality of the object from the concept that I like so much. I’ve been saying here that it’s not always about the “story”; that there can be depiction, not only documentation; that there is organization in terms of poetry; that not only can a single photograph work like a poem, but that a book can be sequenced and work like a longer poem: I used to use Ralph Gibson’s early books as examples of what I meant by that — now I can use Anton Kusters for that example. And I like the idea and having B&W and color together in the book as well.

    I have to think about what all this can mean for my own work. Maybe, to start with, I need to throw away my 21mm lens, and stop taking “no finder shots” of people walking in the streets and super-glue a 50mm lens to my camera…maybe that could help stop my essays from becoming narratives.

  • ANTON :)!….

    yes, indeed…

    btw, the pic of the flower bed, just kills! :)

    xoxo
    b

  • Anton, Congratulations on your new book!!
    It looks very special. the design and layout is nice.

    It is very emotional work for me.
    something heart breaking, something lonely and something longing.
    It is different from your first book but I can feel same flow from you.

    Congratulations again!
    Kyunghee Lee

  • IMANTS

    yes indeed… it is ALL about the book.

    MITCH
    Building a story through depiction, not documentation: I am going to look at Ralph Gibson now… thanks for the insight!

    KYUNGHEE
    It is indeed emotional work… of course I know the emotions in this book are by definition personal, but nonetheless I hope that they still can resonate with the viewer. cheers!

    a

  • ANTON

    You might want to have a look at DEJA VU, DAYS AT SEA and CHIARASCURO (about Italy) — and then there’s Gibson’s first book of color photographs: L’HISTOIRE DE FRANCE.

    Cheers, Mitch/Chiang Mai

  • Well….I’m not sure about all this LP talk….Vinyl has been making a comeback. A HUGE comeback. The main consumers being young hipsters. The demand is so great that factories are having a tough time catching up plus there are issues with the raw material as well….

    Let’s forget about vinyl…this is about Anton!

    This is so poetic….subtle…almost like a fragance.
    I have not gotten a chance to pick up the book yet….hopefully soon!
    Congrats Anton!

  • I finally got the chance. Exquisite, Anton. Exquisite…

  • Anton…
    this essay is a work of art. Sublime. Have you always been this loose photographically or did you have remember to see and shoot like a kid?
    BTW I’ve been meaning to ask you for a long time how you process your raw files? They have a particular look which I find all yours. The colours and tones in the balloons image are exactly the tones in the Yakuza book.

  • CARLO

    Yep, I guess vinyl will never *really* go out completely. thanks for the words

    great FROSTFROG, glad you got round to see it…

    PAUL

    Thanks… I’m not too sure what it means exactly, but think I’ve always been ‘loose’ photographically… it does require me to first get into the right mindset, and sometimes that doesn’t work for a long time and that frustrates me. But most of the time though, it’s just there instantly, and then I really do feel like a kid :)

    I do spend an insane amount of time processing my files (I mainly desaturate. A lot.), but I guess the most important reason why the balloons have the same tones as the Yakuza images is that they were made in the same place…

    cheers,a

  • I’m one of the luckiest folks on the planet Art, coz I had the privilege to actually TOUCH and OPEN and get LOST into that book / music LP.. That book made me wanna go buy an old school turntable just to “play” this book.. Speechless. Unable to describe the feeling of touching the ACTUAL book.. Web is fine , like an iPod file but this MONO book … needs a HI END stereo tube amp and a technics Turntable !!!
    Congratulations Big A.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    yoho,I would never connect the “Yakuza” and the “Mono no Aware” poet …
    to make my short story, shorter …

    ANTON You are a VERSATILE BURNIAN !!!

    Love and hugs and thank you for your “versatility” …

  • PANOS malaka and VIRGIL

    thanks guys… somehow it seems to me you guys should meet… or did you already?

    CIVI

    me too, i never would have thought… and on the other hand, if you take the last three images of YAKUZA and put them side by side to the first three of MONO, you get this: http://antonkusters.com/blog/flowing-into-one-another

    hugs,
    a

  • ANTON

    as you well remember, the primary reason that we got Burn going in the first place was to celebrate BOOKS…even though we are using social media as a way to gather the tribe so to speak, hard copy books have always been our mutual goal….while in fact i do relish seeing your photographs here online, and i am obviously quite used to seeing pictures on a computer screen, for sure the physicality of the book still resonates in a way that the computer screen or mobile phone can never equal for a pure photographic experience…

    for me prints will always be the number one way of experiencing photography…there is nothing that quite equals the touch and smell of a print…however, Mono No Aware comes pretty damned close to equalling the tactile experience of having a set of prints in your hands….and it forces the beholder to STOP..to FEEL…to TOUCH….to take some time and enjoy photography in a way that just cannot happen with an iPhone….

    i am slowly beginning to realize this feeling of mine (ours) may indeed be lost on the next generation..i just saw a short documentary film made of school kids aged 5-8 reacting to analog cameras and prints….it was intended to be funny and it was for sure…yet it was also extremely poignant in the sense of seeing the very young having almost no interest in what will most likely become a lost art….one of these kids “felt sorry for” those of us who had to use archaic analog means of seeing pictures….we had to wait…..instant gratification was what they expected and in fact demanded……sure, some of them in time will learn to appreciate painting and photography as an analog adventure….yet i am also sure that many will never in their lives go beyond the computer screen as their primary venue for seeing photography…

    Mono No Aware has been sitting on my coffee table by the fire now for a few weeks…it often gets skipped even by me as i love to flip through easier to access books and magazines….it takes some “work” to view Mono…you do force us to STOP….thank goodness….Mono No Aware sets up an entirely different environment for viewing photographs..it is in effect, an exhibition of work rather than a book of work…so you have indeed bridged the gap between pictures on a wall and a book of pictures….love it

    thanks Anton…i will look forward to where you take us next….

    abrazos, david

  • Everything was excellent until I watched the video:
    I think it would have been much nicer if you just had separate pamphlets within a simple and straightforward package. This is definitely overdesigned and also involves some sort of fetishistic relationship with the book. The book seems to be more important than the pictures within.

  • DAVID

    Indeed amigo BURN always was and always will be a fine place to celebrate books… and just as books, exhibits, edition prints, and projected images are each a different beast, online is too.

    I agree with you: prints and books – and exhibits – are also the ones I tend to gravitate towards. Exhibits and books to me are a deliberate “vessels” for images, and can (hopefully) add a layer to the story being told, something that is impossible with the images alone. YAKUZA as an exhibit was an elaborate but extremely sober installation, and come to think of it, MONO NO AWARE in a way exhibits [sic] the same kind of elements. In fact, I only realise this now that you tell me…

    I love the iphone and I love digital, and I’m pretty sure the iphone kind of shooting is what we will end up doing all the time… BUT whenever I make a shot on the iphone that I think is really good, the first thought that goes through my head is “now how would that look printed?”

    I love instant gratification (ok not fast food)… and I also know we cannot realise that instant gratification is in fact “instant” if we have not learned about the delayed gratification as well

    I’m looking forward to where I’m gonna take myself next too… I have no idea. BUT, if it were up to me, you (and everyone here at burn) will surely be around and be the first to see…

    hugs,
    a

    DR

    Opinions of course differ… and thank you for your thoughts on this one. Indeed, this particular book requires you to slow down and take your time, in quite a different way than a regular bound book.

    Personally, I wouldn’t categorise these four quite sober LP pockets as “definitely overdesigned”. It’s not like it’s never been done before, hard to produce, or that it crosses some kind of photo book design boundary.

    At Paris Photo recently, Mono No Aware was on display in between all the other thousands of books there. The level of the books I saw there was astounding, humbling and heartwarming, ranging – if one were inclined to classify photo books in this way – from “super standard” to “hyper extravagant”.

    Ultimately, I guess it’s about the story and the story only… being told through the images, words, design, materials AND the balance in the overall package. I think, if I’d have to “overdo” that “overall package” in order to state the importance of said overall package to the story, then I’d do it.

    But I don’t think I have, to be honest. In that crowd in Paris, MONO definitely didn’t stand out in that kind of way… it blended in quite nicely. If anything, it was one of the more “understatedly” designed photo books at the fair. The real fetishists were seen flocking around entirely different books :)

    Did you get a chance to hold the book in your hands?

    cheers, a

  • dear anton, you are correct: “overdesigned” is overstated! and, no, of course i didn’t have the chance to hold the book in my hands. as i said, i enjoyed the series…congrats.

  • As an aside; are we seeing a Renaissance of the photo book in defiance of the last couple of years of predictions of doom? Seems like it to me….

    It seems that they are also being held in higher regard than once before. Has the self publishing aspect also upped the quality of the books too?

  • ROSS NOLLY

    YES, to both questions…self publishing is THE way to good books these days IF you have an audience….for sure the primary thing for serious photographers these days is to have their own audience….magazines needed millions to sell their wares, but you do not need this…you just need a relative handful to love Ross Nolly and his work….i never did believe of course in the prophets of doom as far as photo books were concerned….

    the biggest problem i see is that few photographers really comprehend what constitutes a book…Blurb and other on demand companies fired up this confusion….people got the “feeling”of having their own book in their hands but in most cases a false feeling….a photo book should be a book..photos printed on a page and bound together is no more a book than if you wrote a long story and printed it bound it and put two hard covers on it and the story just did not resonate…….books need substance, narrative, a story, a message, enlightenment, or visual stimulation that takes you somewhere…not just a collection of good pictures…everyone has a collection of good pictures..

    in any case , thousands of photo books are being published every year…again, printing and publishing are two different things as well….printing is not publishing…printing is printing…the first and easiest step to publishing….not the end game…..publishing is distribution, and marketing…

    the opportunities are egalitarian these days…yet with all of the books being “published”, just as with thousands, millions, of “photographers” only a very few rise above the “mean level” and that mean level rises constantly….

    still this is the golden age for photo books….just do not fall into the trap i see so so often and get bit by the “rush to publish” syndrome just because you CAN….you will hate yourself in the morning…at the same time IF you do have a book that will rise above the mean level, then by all means make it happen….the doors are open…..just walk through those doors with a real treasure in your hands….make it sing….make YOUR audience very happy you made it happen for THEM….

    cheers, david

  • Every once in a while I visit burn magazine and every time I do so I think to myself “why don’t I do it more often?”. Even more so this time when your beautiful new essay was at the top. What comes to mind is Kyunghee Lee’s “Island” from the “burn 01” book (which I just had to pull out from my photobook shelf just now) which is also very poetic like this.

    Yakuza was the dramatic storm. This is the peace and reflections that came after. But it’s obvious to me it’s the same eyes who saw it all. The same style. There is something fresh about how you see the world.

    #18 is lovely. Timeless.

  • DAVID

    >>>still this is the golden age for photo books….just do not fall into the trap i see so so often and get bit by the “rush to publish” syndrome just because you CAN….you will hate yourself in the morning…at the same time IF you do have a book that will rise above the mean level, then by all means make it happen….the doors are open…..just walk through those doors with a real treasure in your hands….make it sing….make YOUR audience very happy you made it happen for THEM…<<<

    Inspiring! In some of your recent posts you've made me see that self-publishing and the internet have indeed made this "the golden age for photo books". Publishing photo books has been important for many photographers, before the internet as well. A "large run" for an edition was, and still is, I think, 5,000 books. While 5,000 books is not a large edition for a novel or a nonfiction book, the impact of the much smaller runs of photo books is much greater — the impact on other photographers and on photography in general. Today, as MONO NO AWARE shows, a run of only 500 books is possible to publish — and, as we can see from (what I have read) of ANTON's experience with the YAKUZA book, the impact of photo books can be huge: through exhibitions, magazine articles and press and website interviews. And also, of course, through the effect of the publishing experience on the photographer himself, as we can read in ANTON's blog.

    Just a thought: years ago I spent two years in Tokyo and found that Japan is the world's market for photo books — probably more photo books are published in Japan than anywhere else; more photographers are known and recognized than anywhere else. I remember going back to Japan a few years after I left and having lunch with my former administrative assistant. We passed by a book shop whose show window featured a Ralph Gibson photo book. She commented, "Gibson-san is a very good photographer". It amazed me that she had heard of Gibson, because she wasn't particularly a photo fan.

    I just wonder whether there would be a way of extending the exposure or presence of BURN to Japan. I don't have a clue how that could be done given the language problem, but perhaps you or someone reading this post my have some ideas on this — because it seems to me, for many reasons, a desirable thing to do.

    —Mitch/Chiang Mai

  • MITCH…

    i don’t think the numbers matter…..what is the difference in reality between selling 500 books or 1000 books or 2000 books….as you say what matters most is how good the book is and its impact on the artist and those who do see it….in other words it is the quality of the book that matters….of course you need to recover your production costs if you are self publishing…if you self publish you are of course gambling that you can sell the book….this is a reality of publishing no matter which way you go….and if you are self publishing this will also make you think twice before giving it a go…..you have to think about that as a self publisher, and an established publisher must think the same thing….the only advantage to an established publisher is of course that there is an assumption that they have both an audience and a distribution system….the established publisher however is going to cut corners….keep their production costs down as far as they can….so with an established publisher you might sell 3,000 books at whatever price but if you self published you might only sell 500 but with better production values and actually more profit in the end because you have eliminated the “middle man”..always a good idea if you can on anything….so better book production wise, and better profit, just fewer books out there…whatever you do, go for the best production values you can get….

    i have seen some photographers jump at someone who is willing to “print” their book….probably a 15-30k investment from a publisher or investor depending on production values/costs…who would not go for this? very few photographers want to invest 15k-30k of their own money….i am oversimplifying but imagine you could sell 250 copies at $75. each or 500 at $45. each and you have your printing bill paid..not so hard if you have the right book…if you do not think you can sell 500 books , you probably should not try to publish a high quality book…..wait til you can….

    in none of these scenarios do you get rich….forget actually making money with your book….figure a break even deal….what you do get is your benchmark, your brand, your name out there on a whole new level, that is if your book is to be taken seriously by the serious….if that is not your goal then you might as well do a Blurb book…or just do a money making book if you are more entrepreneurial than seeing yourself as an artist….

    by the way, i have made all the mistakes i describe here….that is why i know about them…i have rushed to publish 2 or 3 times….and hated myself in the morning as described above……those books are hidden …not in my quiver of known books…matter of fact i think i was driven to do a couple of good books to cover up the bad ones….why did i rush? well like everyone else i wanted a book…bad….NOT a good reason….and when i got what i thought i wanted, ahhhhh it hits hard…nothing worse than to have a less than perfect book…sure you can show it to many and perhaps impress…but can you show it to the top peer group? a less than perfect magazine piece is well the norm…but a book should be something special….resist temptation….WAIT til you can get it right..

    cheers david

  • ROSS DAVID MITCH

    About books: As has been happening over the last 5 years, there is an incredible rise of photographers and designers finding that they can *finally* speak with their own voice by publishing independently. For sure this was my feeling when I decided to do it independently.

    In my opinion, this generation of independent publishers has *surely* set in motion that the standards in photo book publishing in general have now become much higher, and you cannot get away anymore with making a book ‘as an afterthought’ or irrelevant to the images. The book as a delivery vessel of your story has become vitally important to also get ‘right’, just as editing, sequencing, print quality, and distribution are. Distribution is actually the hardest thing of all…

    I had no idea there was something like “independent” or “self publishing” when I was photographing Yakuza. I literally took the risk of publishing alone, because my very first contact with a (very large respected) publisher was, to put it mildly, rather disappointing. I went there to show my dummy and they literally told me “yes, sure, we will publish your book….(long pause)…. if you give us $40,000 and you get 8% after tax”.

    I thought, even if I had the money – which I didn’t – “I don’t know if that’s worth it….”

    Obviously I was new to the game… I had no idea to keep in mind the value of being with the “right” publisher and making the “right” move in your career and like DAVID says being proud to show it to your top peer group… and maybe it would have worked out with that publisher… but for sure my career would have been completely different today.

    So… luckily I was sufficiently entrepreneurial to be able to pre-sell the bare minimum amount of books, and at the same time find my audience… it started right here on BURN, and a string of serendipitous events after made the whole YAKUZA project spill over into photo world in general.

    The ultimate test is indeed what David says: will you hate yourself in the morning… because you WILL know in the morning when the dust has settled, if it was worth it or not, if it was necessary or not, if it was good or not, if it was rushed or not…

    I have not yet woken up to hate the YAKUZA book, and I hope it can remain that way… but I sense after three years it should be fine. And even to this day I proudly show it to my top peer group.

    I really hope I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and feel the same about MONO, which is such a different beast alltogether. Time will tell.

    And this will be the ONLY thing I remember in the long run… all the other factors like selling and making money, the pitfalls of the production, the difficult distribution, yes they are crucial at a certain point and are necessary to make the right decisions “business-wise”. But I will forget them soon enough.

    On the other hand, the pride in the shape of showing to your top peers and being recognized for the work you do… the little brick in the wall that you hopefully just added… that is over the rainbow stuff, that is stuff that cannot be bought… and stuff that keeps you going no matter what.

    Of course this does not mean that I just create things for them… I do it for myself first and foremost of course. But we do not live in a vacuum either, and I strive for my archive, that I am now very slowly building upon, piece by piece, image by image, to be worth as much as possible for my family, my kids, my grandkids in the future…

    BJARTE
    thanks for the kind words… and for noticing the continuity!

    a

  • ANTON

    great comment….and i am RUSHING now to get to the airport to head for Rio and MAYBE a zine …i have been working on BeachGames for about a year…but i will kill it if i do not get it this time….the concept is tough…i might not get it….yet i have no fear to let it die if even after a year of shooting it just does not measure up….and as we talk about all the time, one must be ready to fail…..especially after doing a good book..so the process of being a photographer and book maker is one of a certain angst mixed with a certain confidence…it is odd, but it is the way it is…

    on audience building i never meant to imply that one must placate an audience…oh no no no…one must simply ATTRACT an audience…..and you attract an audience by doing your own thing and letting the chips fall where they may….

    ok i must stop or i will miss the plane…..

    we will talk day after tomorrow Anton….

    cheers, david

  • David and Anton; Thanks for the replies, interesting stuff! :-)

  • Anton…
    Has every photo got a story to go with it? You’re leaving me feeling very curious about what was going on in these images, however I suppose photos which are intriguing help create the magic within this book.

  • I think maybe there’s a renaissance in print selling as well. David’s just had a superb print offer, I mean I’d never have dreamt ten years ago of buying an image from Divided Soul. I would of loved to but I’m sure I wouldn’t of been able to afford one. Peter Turnley has just had a Christmas print offer with a huge discount and I’m sure there are more that I’m not aware of. Up until not long ago the only way you could usually purchase a print was through a gallery. The damn middle man inflating prices whilst really not doing too much.

  • hey PAUL!

    Yes indeed, every image in there has a story… some very tiny, and some earth shattering (at least to me)

    And over beers I’m pretty sure I’d be willing to part with some stories :)

    It seems like print selling is indeed doing well… Eventually the “edition print” is still photographically one of the most beautiful ways to present an image.

    I love the images in the package of a book, and as said above, the book as a package lends an extra dimension to the story… but… the first time I saw my own edition prints, after having experienced book and exhibit, I really fell silent. The paper, the depth, the richness was incredible. It’s like a different ballgame.

    I sell prints both directly and through galleries, and in my case, the end price to the buyer is always the same. I guess it seems logical, otherwise I’d be in competition with the very galleries that try to support my career. And of course I pay a percentage on sales closed by the gallery. But I’m perfectly fine with that… they have good networks and long term vision and support my career. For example with my YAKUZA edition, they made a huge difference.

    hugs,
    a

  • I think I prefer the Vimeo run-through of the book as it seems slightly out of focus. It also reminded me of the Kubrick interview with Playboy:

    “Playboy: If life is so purposeless, do you feel it’s worth living? Stanley Kubrick: Yes, for those who manage somehow to cope with our mortality. The very meaninglessness of life forces a man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre (a keen enjoyment of living), their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s élan (enthusiastic and assured vigour and liveliness). Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

  • ANTON

    >>>Building a story through depiction, not documentation: I am going to look at Ralph Gibson now… thanks for the insight!<<<

    I thought you might be interested in the following short video clips by Ralph Gibson. Although they seem essentially Leica-sponsored for the M-Monochrom, they are interesting in several respects and reflect some aspects of Gibson's approach to photography. In the first one he speaks about having always been interested in "pictures of nothing" and of his photography being about the content rather than the subject. I was also interested that he said that 99% of his photos are in the vertical format, which struck home because when I was shooting film with an M6 over half of my shots were vertical — after switching to digital, I found myself to shoot almost exclusively horizontally (in the "portrait orientation") simple because you see a larger picture on the monitor when post processing. The interesting thing in the second video is the brief discussion of Gibson's photography being like music. There is, it seems to me, some resonance with MONO NO AWARE in all of this.

    The two clips are on this web page:

    http://www.iso1200.com/2015/01/the-master-of-shadows-ralph-gibson.html

    Cheers, Mitch/Chiang Mai

Comments are currently closed.