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Book Review: Light of Other Days


Book Review Light of Other Days By Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs Reviewed by George Slade The first photograph in this book of black-and-white images may, or may not, be a view of the cosmos. It has the pinpoint clusters, unreadable context, and the radiant galactic fogs recognizable from Hubble and various terrestrial observatories. The absence of color denies us further clues as to context.
Light of Other Days. By Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs.
 Kodoji Press, 2013.
 
Light of Other Days
Reviewed by George Slade

Light of Other Days
By Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs
$48.00
Kodoji Press, 2013. 96 pp., 44 duotone illustrations, 9½x12½".


The first photograph in this book of black-and-white images may, or may not, be a view of the cosmos. It has the pinpoint clusters, unreadable context, and the radiant galactic fogs recognizable from Hubble and various terrestrial observatories. The absence of color denies us further clues as to context.

The second photograph, similar in intent, leans interpretively toward light reflecting off of crumpled tin foil or flooding through well-pierced black paper. Far less cosmic than its predecessor, then, and more inclined to reveal its material origins.

Light of Other Days. By Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs. Kodoji Press, 2013.

With the first two reproductions Onorato and Krebs cast the die for an intriguing series of dichotomies to follow. Infinite or contained? Present or past? Connotation or denotation? Light of Other Days is a set of perceptual/philosophical experiments, testing hypotheses using various mundane objects — clay sculptures in several scenarios, a portable drill spinning a coat hanger in another, light bulbs, folded prints, candles, mirrors, black frames, and a marvelous construction involving a toy house perched on what appears to be a black gourd — which are staged, expressively lit, and documented with an 8x10 camera loaded with direct positive paper produced by Harman Technology (the company Ilford morphed into around 2005).

Light of Other Days. By Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs. Kodoji Press, 2013.
Light of Other Days. By Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs. Kodoji Press, 2013.

The original prints must be gorgeous, containing as they do the light directly off the objects. The images are rich with intention and enigma. There are shades of various artists in the work, including Sigmar Polke , Joan Fontcuberta, David Goldes, and various contemporaries whose eye and craft are drawn increasingly toward still life as expressive narrative. But Onorato and Krebs, who were both Swiss-born in 1979 and a creative team since 2003, now based in Berlin, blaze and follow their own particular through-line in this work.

Light of Other Days. By Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs. Kodoji Press, 2013.

The book concludes with an odd text, an excerpt titled "The Eighteenth Voyage" from Memoirs of a Space Traveller by Stanislav Lem, published in 1981. Translated here from the original Polish, the tale deals with manipulation of time and space. Apt in some ways, pointlessly bizarre in others, it has a confessional air that is in keeping with the images, which both propose mysteries and unveil the devices used to create them. By exploring both ends of the continuum with such constrained and simple means, Onorato and Krebs forge a modestly profound balance between the transcendent and the tactile. —GEORGE SLADE

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2013 by:
Darius Himes


GEORGE SLADE, a longtime contributor to photo-eye, is a photography writer, curator, historian and consultant based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He can be found on-line at http://rephotographica-slade.blogspot.com/

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