Opening the book initially reveals two complex essays, printed in a typeface reminiscent of classic vintage photo books. Text and illustrations are neatly separated, with no captions or even page numbers in the entire image section. And there are further challenges in store: the flow of images is continuously interrupted with batches of up to seven empty pages — so that even the act of leafing through the book is turned into a conscious effort.
As for the images themselves: they are dark. Very dark. Some shrouded in mist, many of them deeply mysterious. Recognising their contents is no easy feat; after all, the photographer intentionally pursued the depiction of light.
With a particular fascination for twilight, the author created long-term exposures spanning several hours, always working with analogue film. The intention was that a similar sense of deceleration would be transmitted to the audience: “What I’m hoping to achieve is for viewers to take their time with every single image, to analyse it, think about it, and perhaps imbue it with their own story,” he explains. Once you have embraced the photographer’s approach, you enter into an intriguing discourse with his work. For those wishing to contemplate the project from a more cerebral angle, the explanatory text provides food for thought: the Japanese word Kami can stand for reverence, joy, fascination and wonder, but also fear and a multitude of other emotions.
The images displayed here can only offer an impression of what the printed volume has to offer: both author and publisher have set new benchmarks in the field of visual presentation. The result is a compelling publication that is consistent in its continuous divergence. What is necessary though, is plenty of time. (Ulrich Rüter)
Thomas Bergner: Internalized Kami
152 pages, 35 colour illustrations, 20 x 25 cm; German, English
Featuring texts by Jonathan Baumgärtner and Lars Blunck, Kerber Publishers