I’ve been a fan of Rinko Kawauchi for the longest time. Its easy to love her work, its subtlety, rhythmic flows and delicate compositions. As an artist she has been the most brilliant in playful in all of her work but with her new book “Light and Shadow” she does something new which merges the imaginary and real in the most concrete way.
The book itself is small, bound in coarse white fabric with a photograph embedded on the cover. 56 pages thick, the images are printed beautifully on pearl finish paper. Its a pleasure to just hold the book, it almost generates its own light. Published by Super Labo, this is a reprint of the original Japanese edition released in 2012, with a new design.
As you would expect, the work is deeply poetic in its layout. It moves through pastel tones, slowly inclining towards something deeper than just the surface. The book begins with a study of light and observation, gently indulging in questions raised by the frame. I could tell you more but I think it would take away from the first experience of looking at the book, so I’m going to leave it at that.
What I enjoyed the most was the artists ability to walk through parallel stories and find a way to converge them at a singular point. Its enhanced not only by the edit but also the design which clearly starts multilayered and then merges into one. This makes the work much more impactful and comes back to the very fundamental understanding of how we observe and interpret the environment around us.
I would definitely recommend this book for anyone trying to understand the grey zone between documentary and art, where we stand as image makers and how photography can be personal and public at the same time.
In case you’re interested, there is a slightly detailed description of the same on Rinko’s website. I’m not sure where you’d find the book in case you’re looking to grab a copy, its sold out in most places but writing to Super Labo might be worth a try.