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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Dust gets in my Eyes

It's a difficult game photography, but at the same time it's not so difficult. It's like everything; you have to keep on moving. All you really need to do is:

have some ideas
take some pictures
find a market
make some money
meet some people
show your work

have some new  ideas
take some more pictures
find another market
make some more money
meet some more people
show your work to more people

have some new  ideas
take some more pictures
find yet another market
make even more money (food and stuff. It costs!)
meet some more people, are there any left?
show your work to more people

And Bob's your Uncle!

You need to be pretty high-energy and self-starting to do this, with caffeinated blood to keep up with all this multi-tasking. And you have to do it year on year on year on year.

Klaus Pichler seems to have the ability to do all the above. He comes up with consistently high-quality projects, and consistently uses the best tools possible to show them, books mostly

His latest book Dust is a case in point . A lot of people, inspired by famous dust pictures and the fact that they don't get out much (or was that just me?), photograph dust. Most of the time it looks pretty nondescript.

Even Pichler's pictures look pretty non-descript on a screen. They're small and flat and lifeless. They're too tidy. No woodlice, fingernails, or flakes of skin, on the screen you skip over them too fast to get into the scabs and flies!

But in book form they come to life. It really is quite a surprise. It's a surprise that starts with the cover. It's a felt cover that looks like a big ball of felty flush mashed into flatness. You just want to stroke it to death. It's like a bunny rabbit in book form. A dusty bunny rabbit.

Then you open it and there are those glassine sleeves with DUST spelt out on them, a letter a page. Flick over and you're into the first picture. And this is what everyone does when they get to it - they stroke it. To see if it's real, Because it pops out of the page, it looks like a dust-your-enemy attack in book form.

The piles of dust were originally about 1 inch square so are blown up to about 5 times life size, so they don't look that dust like; it's all giant hairs and threads of fabric at first, but then it starts to become fun to look into the detail. There are flies and bugs from the natural history museum, a plethora of white hairs from the art gallery, and flour and crumbs from the bakery. All gathered together into surprisingly ordered (that's the blow up effect) balls of fluff.

Dust has been sitting on Pichler's virtual shelf for a few years now. I guess he's been waiting for the right time to publish it, with the money available to publish it. The latter's important because it doesn't look like it was a cheap book to make. And if it had been a cheap book, then it would not be nearly as striking as it is.

 And it comes with a poster. Of piles of dust.

Buy the book here. 

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