Honestly, I don’t know quite what to make of Jungjin Lee’s Opening. Dark, gritty, almost Provoke-style are-bure-bokeh, but even beyond anything Moriyama ever put out, landscapes, or bits thereof, presented in this groovy accordion-style book. It’s really fantastic, if somewhat hard to see or read…
In the unboxing, and in subsequent viewings, I’m not sure that I start and end in the right place, as the book opens from both sides. I think I got it right the second try, that is, I think the front has the tipped in photograph and the back has the title, since the pages from the title side have the seams…
So the photography… it’s landscapes, of the American Southwest, but don’t think Adams or any of those that came after him. The expanses of open land and beautiful vistas where you can see for miles and miles are long gone. These are more details, fragments, and the clarity is largely gone. It’s like a dream or one of those 1970s desert dystopias. But it’s no less beautiful, so open, austere, empty.
Lee takes great care in hand printing her images on hand-coated mulberry paper, which is probably what gives this book it’s contrasty, are-bure-bokeh feel. I’d be interested to see some of her prints in person, and compare them to the Nazreli Press printed book. I’m sure it’s different, but I also expect her aesthetic—and it is fairly consistent throughout her 30 year career—is well captured in Opening.
Overall, I’d give Opening 4 stars.
Opening is limited to 2000 copies, all slipcased and beautifully printed. It’s really an artist’s book, mass produced, and you still can get one direct from Nazreli.
And just to end where I began, I probably wouldn’t have bought this myself… It marked the last book in my 3 month trial subscription in the Charcoal Book Club. It was a really great experience, about which I’ll have more to say some other time, and I used a bit of birthday money to re-up for a whole year, and I look forward to seeing what comes my way.