Pa.ral.lax [book]:


From 2006 until 2008 I worked on a large-scale (book) project in which I explored my fascination with the concept and history of the atomic bomb. I traveled to a number of places in that connection, including two trips to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the second trip I was accompanied by graphic designer Michaël Snitker, with whom I would later collaborate on the book. In addition to the work I did for my project, I also took numerous snapshots as a kind of diary. Michaël did the same, although in his case it was to gain (visual) access to a culture that is often difficult for us to fathom.

Once I had picked up my contact sheets from the lab after a couple of weeks, we realized that we had often shot the very same subjects, albeit in different ways. By editing and pairing these images, we achieved a motion and depth that reminded us of old-fashioned stereo photography. We decided to publish those jointly in an independently produced publication, in a limited edition of 400 copies.

It is a book about looking and seeing in general, but more specifically about the photographic view. The question was this: what happens when two people with different professional backgrounds look at the same subject, translating it into different images? Sometimes we did that from different positions, often with different focal length, and always with a different medium: I shot on negative film with my old Nikon fm2 reflex camera and an analogue Leica Minilux, while Michaël used a digital Pentax Optio and his Samsung telephone. In the end, though, the similarities are more obvious than the differences.

The book consists of 60 pages and reads from back to front. My images are situated on the recto pages, while Michaël’s are on the verso pages. For the cover we chose paper with the color of tea (Keaykolour Tea), and the ink is silver, which reflects the chemical composition of film. The photo of the Ricoh camera from 1945 on the front cover, which I took at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, was printed in negative. As the silver ink is lighter than the dark paper, however, the image appears in positive (Image 1).

We called the book because our ‘double gaze’ has been translated into a series of diptychs that depict the space in between the images: the visual space as well as the mental one.

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