Sunday, 30 August 2015

Silent color

The 179 photos in this book explore its physical appearance.  Eric Maillet is conscious that a publication is made up of two side by side pages and he takes advantage of this by having the photos run off the edges of each page and butt up to another photo in the middle.  This is contrary to the normal art photo book style where each image is centred on the page surrounded by generous margins and in the classic format only the right-hand pages carry a photo.

Silent conversations works because the two photos burst out of each spread and this makes the reader consider both images at the same time.  The spread photos are linked, either by texture, pattern or shape.  For example, a close-up of a horse's head faces a model's head and both have similar texture on their skin or some smoke photographed against a black background facing the similar effect with some fabric in a liquid against a white background.  Many of the photos are close-ups of objects without revealing exactly what they are though the many uses of liquids, in any form, can't be disguised. 

What I liked about this book was printing Maillet's photos in four colors though the majority of them appear to be black (or blue) and white but look carefully and you'll see subtle suggestions of color where you least expect to see it.  There are several obvious color photos throughout the pages.

It's worth commenting on the book's excellent production.  Printed by Damiani with a very fine screen (250 or 300) on a lovely silky matt art paper.  The pages are unnumbered with six at the back with thumbnails of each spread and the briefest captions, just the year (and some are 2015) and somtimes the name of a model.

Maillet is rightly well known for superb fashion and studio still-life photos but away from the commissioned work you can see his other creative side through the photos in this book.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Poor look, weak taste

This really should have been a visual winner with seventy-five of the Nation's faves displayed in all their glory, instead it misses it completely by having an incredibly bland layout throughout the one hundred and sixty unnumbered pages.

Each spread is the same. The left-hand page has some text about the product: size; package; origin; ingredients; maker; slogan; general comments, some of this is actually quite interesting, especially the ingredients which have probably changed a lot since 1980 when the book came out. This text takes up mostly less than a quarter of the page, the rest is empty. The right-hand page has the visual interest with a package and the contents shot, sometimes a whole page or a cutout but all very unimaginative as photos.

Predictably so much of the contents could be called fun food -- 7Up, Good Humor ice cream sandwich, Bazooka bubble gum, Twinkies, Hershey's kisses, Reddi wip. McDonald's gets three spreads with hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes. Other foods are non-branded generic products like macaroni and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, cream cheese or onion dip.

If you want a bit of thirty-five year old food nostalgia maybe it's worth picking up a copy but don't pay more than a few dollars.