|Brut, Photographs by Paul Kranzler. |
Published by Fotohof Editions, 2011.
Reviewed by Adam Bell
Paul Kranzler Brut
Photographs by Paul Kranzler.
Fotohof Editions, 2011. Hardbound. 144 pp., 15 black & white and 90 color illustrations, 12x10".
'Home' in all its iterations is a dominant theme within photography. Approached from infinite different angles, it can provide a wellspring of ideas and inspiration for a photographer, or it can be a comforting shelter to confirm well-worn platitudes. Paul Kranzler is a young photographer who has already proven himself unafraid to stare at the darker side of life as seen in his first two books Land of Milk and Honey and Tom. While his first two books are more focused portraits (a struggling alcoholic couple and the life of an adolescent named Tom), Brut is a loving meditation on Kranzler's family - both biological and adopted.*
As Kranzler writes, "these are images of places and people I have known for a long time, whether related by blood or otherwise. And places and people who know those I know, and also people who I don't know in places I have known for a long time. You become the way you are in your own environment. Relatives are an integral part of the genetic environment, and people, to whom you are not related and who become your relatives are always your closest environment."
The book itself is nicely designed and does not overwhelm or detract from the images. Instead, the understated design takes a backstage to the compelling images that are either paired or set one to a spread. Arranged without any text, the book ends with a small pamphlet tucked in the back that offers captions, a short essay and some of Kranzler's insights into the individual images.
Despite this minor criticism, Brut is an honest and compelling book. Kranzler has already proven himself to be an important voice in contemporary photography, and this book builds upon that admirable record.
*Brut, translated from German, is not only a brood or clan, but to think, hatch, reflect and sulk.—Adam Bell
Adam Bell Adam Bell is a photographer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, and his work has been exhibited and published internationally. He is the co-editor and co-author, with Charles H. Traub and Steve Heller, of The Education of a Photographer (Allworth Press, 2006). His writing has appeared in Foam Magazine, Lay Flat and Ahorn Magazine. He is currently on staff and faculty at the School of Visual Arts' MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department.