Day two of jury duty and I’m still sitting and waiting. Action is promised soon: I’ll either be on a jury or dismissed… So, another review ahead of schedule.
Today I brought two small books by Eunhye Kim to pass the time. These slim volumes are the kind of quick and to the point books that I love. I attended a workshop on the photobook several years back (TA’d actually) run by Ken Schles and Jeffrey Ladd. Each participant was asked to bring a couple of books that they liked. I brought a handmade book of abstractions by a Japanese photographer and Paul Kooiker slim Seminar. Both present small “i” ideas and do so without fanfare or ostentation.
Both Berlin and London are like that: simple, direct and easy. We have straightforward urban landscapes of two cities printed in rough risograph on cheap paper and saddle stitched with two staples.
Each book is comprised of street photographs made in the titular city. They tend towards the middle distance. They have the air of casual snapshots but suffused with formal compositions. The photographs are quiet; there are no spectacles, no confrontations, no human drama. Winogrand this is not.
In Berlin, the photographs on the front and back covers are the strongest, presenting a promise that the rest of the photographs cannot live up to. Some aspire but none match.
London is much the same, though there are a number of gems within the book: a group of young men playing football in a park; two flower pots on two windowsills; a pair of images following an old woman as she approaches and unlocks her door; a middle aged couple pausing in the middle of a walk with their dogs in the park; a family walking through a park in matching outfits.
These are not masterpieces, but they make no claim to be. At the moment, they are welcome diversions.