Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a compelling vision, 10 Jun 2012
This review is from: A Visual Inventory (Hardcover)
John Pawson is a minimalist architect, who has also generated a series of books, by and about himself. Personally I am not a huge fan of his architecture, he comes across as rather humourless, but thoughtful and intelligent.

This is a series of 272 digital images, arranged in pairs, each with a short para of commentary. They are all of a monastic simplicity and a few themes do recur throughout. There is some introductory commentary, but you could quite easily read this book in an afternoon. Its value to you will therefore depend on whether the images and insights are of lasting value for you.

Generally these photos are 'one liners' it is fairly obvious what they are of, a detail or texture that caught his eye. But with the text they are intriguing and they encourage you to look more closely at the world around you. This is a chance to spend time looking through the lens of someone who has spent a lifetime paring away details to a monastic simplicity and finding the most compelling of the most simple. These photos are taken from an archive of a quarter million photos.

The book is well produced, the paper more matt, less glossy than I expected, and at times the images are not quite large enough to pick up on some of the details described in the accompanying para, for example the glittering ice on the contents of a skip. There is also an endearing ad hoc-ness about them. He apologises that a car spoils one shot, and points out someone moving a horse in another. There is also an intriguing Harry Worth moment on page 60.

Have a browse, if you like the excerpts then you will probably like the book, I certainly enjoyed it, but could not say it is for everyone. This is an intriguing idea, and it would be nice to see more everyone producing their own photographic inventories.
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