Shadow Selfie

I’ve been reading Josef Koudelka Next: A Visual Biography by Melissa Harris. I think there is a great deal to learn from Koudelka, but I have some misgivings about this book. For one thing, it is a bit gossipy, at least about the film photography world of the 1970s. For another, I think the book design is execrable. You can’t really see the Koudelka photos because they are reproduced basically in postage-stamp size.

The subtitle of the book is, after all, “A Visual Biography”. I think that the word “visual” does not mean what the creators of this book think that it means.

Koudelka is credited as co-designer, so apparently he signed off on the design. To see Koudelka’s photography you would really need to have one of his monographs open as you read this book. In fact, practically the only large size photos are of meta objects, such as Koudelka’s diaries, travel documents, and itineraries.

Shadow Selfie © Harold Davis

Shifting horizon lines to create a diagonal is one aspect of Koudelka’s compositions that I’ve enjoyed, and emulated in Shadow Selfie (above). However, as Koudelka put it, “geometry is not enough.”

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