- 18×18 cm (7×7 inches)
- 48 pages
- 80 images
- Two short essays by me, Mitch
- Book design by yours truly as well
One Two One is my second long(er) form photography project, created during the winter of 2020/2021.
A period where a global pandemic with its imposed restrictions, and a personal search for more fulfilling work come together. This leads to images that show isolation, desolation and even a little hopelessness at times.
Only one copy of the book has been produced.
Still, I’d like to offer you the option to view the final result. The book contains two short essays, as well as 24 double page spreads.
Can I say something, one-to-one? It won’t take long, I promise. Thank you.
Do you know what I want to do? What I really want to do?
Let it all go.
The worries, the overthinking, the complexity. Instead, I’d just be. In the moment, happy, myself. That’s what I want. Just put on my shoes and go for a walk. Of course, I’d bring my camera. I can’t go anywhere without my camera. On that walk, I would then document everything I see. All the tiny bits and pieces that catch my eye. I would walk for hours, maybe even days. Until the landscape changes and becomes unfamiliar to me. I’d then find even more bits and pieces that interest me. My energy would rise as my creativity awakens. I would do this until I can’t walk another step.
I would then go home and find peace. Looking through the photos I’ve taken, I would feel accomplished. Fulfilled. I would print all my best shots and stick them on a wall. Just to look at them for a while.
I would shuffle them around and discover themes and similarities. I would learn about my perception of the world. Maybe I’d write down a few thoughts, just to remember them later. I would open my computer and start a new document.
A book? Am I making a book out of this?
I won’t be sure, because I never am, but I would start compiling the images into pages. Those pages will turn into chapters, or collections. A story will surface, even if it is in the most implicit of forms. I will notice my heartbeat increasing as these fragments of memories become something more. Their sum transcending their parts. I would pen down a few thoughts again that, maybe, I can use in this book.
I have made a book. A tangible thing of my work. Something to hold.
Then, I’d close the book I just made. Put on my shoes again and start walking.
When I start a project, I usually don’t have a specific theme or subject in mind. The few projects I’ve done so far have mostly revolved around a photographic format that I used to impose certain restrictions. Parameters within which the work needs to be created. These restrictions limit the possibilities a project can diverge into. Which is, actually, a liberation to me.
I’m not sure why I create my projects this way, as the other way around seems more logical to me. I believe what you should do is find a story first and then find a way to present that story. Working in this order allows you to use a format that fits the story rather than find a story that fits the format. So far, I have not upheld this rule, as is also the case for the current project.
The inspiration for One Two One comes from an increased interest in square format photography. I liked the idea of having to frame my photos differently compared to when I’d shoot wider aspect ratios. Like a visual exercise to train my eye and look for other compositions. A square format asks for central framed subjects and simple compositions while eliminating distractions. A square photo brings focus, clarity and simplicity. It’s like being zoomed into a scene without actually zooming in.
All photos in this book share the same confinements. They unite in their subjects, timeframe and emotion. I’ve made pairings of as many as four photographs on one page.
Photos I thought belonged together for any of the reasons mentioned above. Sometimes this simply meant combining images taken on the same day. Other times the photos are taken months apart from each other but share similar subjects. In any shape, form or combination the images are presented, they all adhere to the same story.
A record of internal states that words don’t do justice.
One Two One is made in a period of uncertainty, during which I searched for purpose and creative fulfillment. A period where one plus one did not always equal two. Paired with feelings of cautious optimism and an urge to prove myself but also a sense of gloom and disconnection.
As I’m slowly aging out of my twenties, I find myself questioning my motives and the goals I have set for myself. I’m in a constant state of reevaluation. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with what I do, I just think I can be better. A thought-process I’m sure eventually will be beneficial, but certainly not without challenges. So far, the solution has been to allow myself to get some distance and simply wander, both mentally and physically.
I think it’s no surprise, looking at the work in this book, that the process has been partly depressing but primarily cathartic. I’m glad I got it out there.