The Angry Bat is a publication house run by Matej Sitar, photographer himself, with a very slow rhythm of publication, more or less one book per year. Nokturno is the fifth book published, after America My Way, Morning Sun, Requiem and American Cowboy. What I appreciate a lot with Matej is the fact that he is not working in a hurry but always takes the time needed to produce a book with high standards of quality.
The cover of the book shows us what could be a bright cloud, enlighten by moon at night, and when the book opens, we find the same image in negative which could become some smoke at daylight. This very clearly claims that maybe what we see are not what things are!
Andrej Lamut is a Slovenian photographer born in 1991, and now living in Ljubljana – Slovenia. As says Andrej, “My work is based on my research of performative acts and photography”. At the same time, this is what attracts and remains mysterious. Like others before him, Andrej wonders about photography itself, and its ability to show, to say, to represent. The images succeed each other without any narrative; forms appear then disappear, as to better reinvent themselves. Some images on facing pages create a meaning that probably does not exist; but that does not matter, the threads of a mysterious story are woven. The aesthetic dimension of the images takes the upper hand and, finally, we unhook and let ourselves be carried. No need to understand to accompany Andrej in this journey.
The blacks are deep and thick; we try to find our way in the night, as the title suggests, and we spend time with each image, we go back to them, thinking that we may have forgotten something. And by dint of scrutinizing these images, one wonders what inhabits the photographer, what are these strange scenes drawn by light. There is a cinematographic dimension in this book, plans follow one another, from fields to counterfields, in a sort of playing with the ‘montage and attraction’ defined by S. M. Eisenstein.
Another very important element with this book is the sensuality that emerges from it. A book is not only a succession of images, it is above all an object. And the care given to this book completes the sensations that the photographer tries to transmit to us. The photos are superbly reproduced with deep blacks, and, most importantly for a photographer who used to work with argentic films like me, some wonderful grainy shades of gray. By moments, you could even dive in those grainy photos, forgetting their subjects.
The book has a sewn hardcover with an open spine which makes it easy to open, particularly for pictures printed on two pages and, last but not least, the paper choosen is Munken Pure Rough 150g, and it is probably the first time I mention those considerations in a review, but the color and the texture of this paper add a wonderful soft feeling when you turn the pages.
Nokturno by Andrej Lamut can be purchased here.
Christer Ek is a French photographer and also a photobook collector. You can read his excellent photobook related blog, where this post originated here