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Book of the Week: A Pick by Christopher J Johnson


Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christopher J Johnson Christopher J Johnson selects 11.41 by Michal Luczak and Filip Springer as Book of the Week.
11.41. By Michal Luczak. Sputnik Photos, 2016.
Christopher J Johnson selects 11.41. by Michal Luczak and Filip Springer from Sputnik Photos as Book of the Week.

"'Of course there were accurate maps of the town before the earthquake, but none of them survived the disaster.' This is the statement of a man named Tutal, who with his friends and satellite images constructed a new map for the Armenian city of Spitak. The 'earthquake' in question occurred in 1988 at 11:41 in the morning and lasted less than a minute; it and its aftermath is the subject of the latest book by Michal Luczak and one of the more current books in the Lost Territories project of the Sputnik Photo Collective.

The book is both a conceptual and a documentary approach to the earthquake. Presented in three sections Luczak's photographs begin the book with a seemingly disorganized series of images: an empty fish tank, a fractured wall and a caged cow are found among more baffling subject matter (these are, I should say, beautiful photographs — each one). Following this is the text provided by Springer. The text largely follows Tutal as he gives Springer a tour of Spitak and tells stories of the disaster and the development of the town since its occurrence (including the dissolving of the Soviet Union, which occurred after the quake in 1991). Within these stories that Tutal tells the context for the images in section one comes to light. This gives the books a disjointed, but wholly appropriate shape; what connects is not placed next to one another, but rather is scattered. It is a metaphorical layout, and quite a good one.

The final section of the book contains photographs of artworks that commemorate those who lost their lives in the earthquake and the destruction it caused. As a history book, 11.41 is an amazing document and one of the best so far to present a sort of magnified look at a single episode within the 'Lost Territories' series."  — Christopher J Johnson

Purchase Book

11.41. By Michal Luczak. Sputnik Photos, 2016.
11.41. By Michal Luczak. Sputnik Photos, 2016.


Christopher J Johnson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a resident writer for the Meow Wolf art collective. His first book of poetry, &luckier, has been released by the University of Colorado. He is Manager of photo-eye’s Book Division.

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