'After it is gone, the landscape appears'
That quote by Yutaka Takanashi is the inspiration for Stefan Vanthuyne's book, The Hill that Wasn't. Takanashi believed that the landscape photographer has the metaphorical power to encounter, destroy, rebuild and release the landscape; to shape the landscape into his/her own image. 'Therein lies the the pursuit of a new "landscape"; the landscape of the photograph, the landscape of the haiku,' writes Vanthuyne in his intro to the book.
So The Hill that Wasn't is about finally coming to see this small, unspectacular hill through photography. It's a modest and elegant book. The pictures are low contrast images of the scrub on the hillside - they're printed onto white paper folded and stapled into a modest accordion with a couple of pages stapled in. On the screeprinted cover there's a picture of a tree next to the hill, a very modest hill, more of a hillock really, a baby hill, a hill that isn't.
It's a remarkably familiar hill compete with grass, wildflowers and teasels. It's a universal landscape that is recognisable to almost anyone anywhere who has ever taken the time to glimpse at the slightly pointless landscape around them - and realise that actually it's not that pointless at all. I suppose it could be a kind of Edgelands book, but it's more soulful and affectionate than that.
Buy the book here.
This is how Vanthuyne describes the design of the book which was designed by Jurgen Maelfeyt and Theophile Calot:
All I did was ask them to create a book that would recreate what I did: see the hill (the
cover), approach it (open the book) and investigate/walk around it (design of the booklet).
And by doing so it became a new landscape - the Takanashi reference.
APE is really good at this.