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Book of the Week: Borderless by Wang Yishu


Book Of The Week Borderless Photographs by Wang Yishu Reviewed by Forrest Soper Printed in an edition of 800 copies, Borderless is a book that truly needs to be experienced personally to fully comprehend its impact. Wang seamlessly interweaves photographs from China, Japan, Mongolia, Thailand, Canada, and The United States to create a body of work with a captivating and engaging flow.
Borderless By Wang YishuJiazazhi Press, 2018.
Borderless
Selected as Book of the Week by Forrest Soper.

Borderless.
Photographs by Wang Yishu.
Jiazazhi Press, Ningbo, China, 2018. 104 pp., 61 color illustrations, 8½x10¾x¾".

"Borderless by Wang Yishu is one of the more spectacular Chinese photobooks I have seen published in the last five years. Originally trained as a photojournalist, Wang abandoned his traditional journalistic practices to focus on the fine art aspects of photography. Rejecting straightforward photographic essays, Wang began to view each photograph as its own aesthetic entity. These individual elements could then be used with others to create a communicative experience that superseded the impact of his traditional work. In doing so, Wang has become a masterful editor as he leaves the viewer to find their own meaning between the otherwise disparate images.

Borderless By Wang YishuJiazazhi Press, 2018.

Printed in an edition of 800 copies, Borderless is a book that truly needs to be experienced personally to fully comprehend its impact. Wang seamlessly interweaves photographs from China, Japan, Mongolia, Thailand, Canada, and The United States to create a body of work with a captivating and engaging flow. Sometimes images are paired by form, as the arching back of a jumping kangaroo is paired with the curved shape of tangled foliage. Other times, Wang focuses on color when the head of a goose preparing to jump into a body of water is mimicked by a woman in a polka-dotted dress looking out from a bridge. Motifs, such as surveillance and dissociation make their subtle appearances, as Wang Yishu invites the reader to find their own meaning in this work devoid of text. It becomes clear that Wang has been critically looking at the changing world around him, and he invites the reader to do the same.

Borderless By Wang YishuJiazazhi Press, 2018.

In three years of working with photo-eye, I have had many people asked me how to make a successful photobook. Should the cover have an image on the front? Which publisher is best? How many images should my book have? What paper should I use? I’ve never seemed to have a satisfactory answer to any of these questions. People appeared to be looking for a formula to success, a recipe that they could follow. After much thought, I’ve come to believe that there are just four simple elements that come together to form a successful photobook: the content of the imagery, the quality of the photographs, the sequence of the book, and the design of the publication. All four of these components require good editing in order to be successful. Much like a traditional novel, which is composed of a mere twenty-six letters and a handful of special characters, a photobooks success is often determined by how the individual components interact with one another on the page. To make a successful photobook it is essential that you learn how to edit if you wish to create the greatest impact in the mind of the viewer.

Borderless By Wang YishuJiazazhi Press, 2018.

At the end of the day, the fact that Borderless has such a skillful edit leads me to recommend this book. The images themselves are beautiful, but the interrelationships between them transform the work into something truly remarkable and personal.

Borderless By Wang YishuJiazazhi Press, 2018.

Zhang Jungang writes in the afterword '[Wang] doesn’t emphasize on any intention or topic when it comes to exhibitions or publications, but rather takes photographs as material to construct a space that is dedicated to observation and perception. Hence, the viewers are encouraged to find their own way out.' I believe that Wang’s philosophy is truly emblematic of the art of photography. By using the camera, one can freeze time in order to make sense of an ever-changing world, and through editing, the photographer can impart that understanding into the mind of the viewer. Some will see beauty, some will find deeper meaning in life, but all will be better for having engaged with the work.

Borderless By Wang YishuJiazazhi Press, 2018.

Borderless is a prime example of photography in its purest form. I can't recommend this publication enough." — Forrest Soper

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Forrest Soper is an artist and photographer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest is the editor of photo-eye Blog, a former photochemical lab technician at Bostick & Sullivan, and a graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

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