Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jason Eskenazi- WONDERLAND Review

Quite honestly, as much as I like his photography, when I first saw the cover of Jason Eskenazi's book Wonderland online, I was, like... what's with the creepy, curly hippie script? I just didn't know if any photography, no matter how good, could survive such an atrocious cover! This is where the old adage comes in folks- yes, the one about books and their covers (not the one about creepy hippies).

First off, I absolutely love this book, inside and out. It has very much the indie feel to it, and quite the unusual design: two slabs of thick grey cardboard on either side with a purple cloth binding in between them. Granted, that doesn't sound particularly appealing, but somehow, someway it manages to work all the same- primitive, and suprisingly sophisticated. Now, I've no idea how long that binder will last and how much punishment the book will withstand overall. At a very compact 5X7in- this is the perfect, portable photo bible you'll want to have with you wherever you go, just to remind yourself what good photography really looks like. Meet your maker out in the cold cruel world with this on ya, and they may not know if you can take a picture worth a lick, but they will know you got taste! I'm thinking of getting another just to keep home in pristine condition.

As for the images themselves, each is printed full frame over a two page spread. I usually hate that to all hell- but that soft, flexible cloth binder let's one open the book out easily, making for much easier viewing of the two pages as one whole. Again, I don't know how sturdy the construction is, but right now I'm betting this book would look good in any condition.

And as for the photographs- phenomenal! The book reads like an encapsulated volume of life fully lived, with all the grandiose drama and poignant smaller moments so characteristic of Russian poetry.* Life and love, youth and longing, unsparing reality and the rituals we humans create, celebrate and endure. All within the confines of two grey slabs of cardboard...

* OK- I know nothing of Russian poetry- but I bet it's a lot like that.

1 comment:

aquemarropa said...

The truncated 1st edition sold out and sells for several hundred dollars today. The photographer got back the rights to the book and reprinted it himself. The price ($35 or so) is a steal.