It’s Monday, and the skies are clear.
Yesterday, the smoke from New Mexico wildfires was unpleasant enough that we stayed inside all day. (Until it filtered out in the evening.)
To have fires here in April and early May is something I simply cannot recall.
Sure, it’s a drought, and La Niña is a bitch.
But early-spring fires?
(Climate Change is NOT joking around.)
In art school, we learned that Kant considered the Sublime to contain a degree of the awful, or the terrifying.
(Maybe awe-inspiring is the better term? I graduated in 2004, so it’s a little rusty.)
But as I remember, it’s more than just beauty, the Sublime.
Three quarters of a day with my reality constrained by smoke pollution, and as soon as I got outside again, the world shimmered.
Yet billions of people live with pollution every day.
(I consider myself fortunate.)
Frankly, people around the planet live in all sorts of places, and all manner of ways.
It’s a big world out there.
I bring this up right now, having just put down “The Moon Belongs To Everyone,” a phenomenal photo-book that arrived in the mail last June, by Stacy Arezou Mehrfar, published by GOST.
(Like I said to Shawn Records last week, thanks for your patience, Stacy!)
Really, this book is terrific.
I love it.
Last week, I wrote that because of the clear, Joseph-Campbell-inspired-structure, Shawn’s book didn’t make us think too hard.
This one is the opposite, as its lack of text, and great variety of imagery types and styles, make you guess what the heck is going on, as you turn each page.
No lie, we see frozen waterfalls, jungles, desert, oceans, and rock formations, just off the top of my head.
The paper changes, through the book, which I also loved, including these eerie portraits that seem almost like silver ink on black paper.
(Though I can’t say for sure.)
We see nature, and food, in various forms, including a killer photo of a super-intense-looking pomegranate.
The pomegranate was also featured in a design-trick I thought was clever, in which some images have a color sampled from within, and it’s turned into an entire color-block-page.
This happened a few times.
(Orange, magenta and red, if I recall.)
Books like this, which use only photos to tell non-linear, abstracted stories, are often called “poetic.”
And sure enough, the only text in the entire book, (beyond the credits,) was a poem by the artist that I read twice, much as I did with the photos.
If I’m being honest, at first I was a bit skeptical, but kept an open mind, (all those slashes,) but by the time I was done with the second pass, I was convinced.
Cool rhythms, repeating motifs, and if you pay attention, the message is there.
Like the imagery, it’s non-linear and abstracted, so it makes for a fitting close.
The poem speaks to immigrants, and emigrants.
To where we begin, where we end up, and who are we anyway?
How does it always come down to the patch of Earth on which you were born, or the spot you choose to put down your roots?
This book definitely qualifies as a work of art, in my opinion.
Sleek and pretty, but with just a hint of menace.
Job well done.
See you next week!
If you’d like to submit a book for potential review, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are particularly interested in books by artists of color, and female photographers, so we may maintain a balanced program. And please be advised, we currently have a significant backlog of books for review.