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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 Walking by Yusuf Sevincli as Book of the Week.

Walking. By Yusuf Sevincli. Filigranes Editions, 2015.
Christopher J Johnson selects Walking by Yusuf Sevincli published by Filigranes Editions as Book of the Week.

"One might easily imagine Yusuf Sevincli as a ghost; a sort of ghost that haunts the footpaths of any city, a ghost that populates the shadows just outside the shine of streetlights – a shadowy ghost, in short, who observes. There is something ephemeral and yet eternal in the Sevincli’s works; he sees the world of cities and people as one fabric, both inseparable from the next, each informing the other.

In his previous monograph, Good Dog, Sevincli walked us through a city at night where children played, people spied down on the streets from their illuminated apartment windows and a building caught fire in the dark.

Walking is a slightly different scene; it is the city of Vichy – a city of socio-historical importance in the art and culture of France. In the19th century it was a go-to vacation spot for Napoleon and in 1903 it opened an Art Nouveau style opera house and which, in recent years, has seen much revitalization.

Sevincli’s Vichy, however, is more a part of Italio Calvino’s Invisible Cities than it is any city that can be found on Google Maps. It is a place populated by dream, inky shadows, doorways and tree lines and the faces of strangers; but it is not, despite these descriptions, a place of anxiety or angst-ridden darkness, but rather a site of the eternally urban; a place of mimes, statues, narrow alleys, lighted taverns, birds and dogs, children, adults and the elderly – all of it makes Walking like a Whitman poem ecstatically written in white ink upon black paper with images rather than words.

Sevincli’s photographs remind one of the work of William Klein or Daido Moriyama, they are high contrast and the darkness is on the verge of swallowing each image entirely, but the whites and greys hold against this just like the halos of angels and saints appear to stave off the deepest night, bathing their holy-folk in an un-breakable light so that even the darkness that his subjects choose (dark clothes for example) seems to be unable to consume them." —CHRISTOPHER J JOHNSON

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Walking. By Yusuf Sevincli. Filigranes Editions, 2015.

 Walking. By Yusuf Sevincli. Filigranes Editions, 2015. 

Christopher J Johnson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is a resident writer for the Meow Wolf art collective and book reviewer for Garth Clark’s Cfile Foundation. His first book of poetry, &luckier, will be released by the University of Colorado in November 2016. He is, as of 2016, Manager of photo-eye’s Book Division.