Image-text photobooks in a nutshell #5: Gemma Padley on The Eyes, The Ears by Kawauchi
We asked a pool of international photobook experts to share with us an image-text photobook they find particularly interesting, regardless of its publication date and where text is a fundamental element in the narrative (not a mere introduction or essay on the photoworks). Here Gemma Padley shares her thoughts on The Eyes, The Ears by Rinko Kawauchi, published by Foil in 2005 (107 pages, 15.24 x 22.86 cm).
Just as photographs are fragments of the world – self-contained and incomprehensible – so too are poems, but in written form. In her book – The Eyes, The Ears – Rinko Kawauchi combines Haiku-esque poems with images.
On their own, her photographs are enigmatic and luminous, yet when combined with words they become even more so.
Her poems do not seek to convey hidden meanings or reveal great human truths; rather they add to the photographs’ mystery.
In this way, Kawauchi reminds us – simply, openly and without pretence – of the power that words and images can create when entwined.
Gemma Padley is a freelance journalist who specialises in photography. She recently founded the blog, Too Many TasteMakers, an online platform that focuses on showcasing new talent and photography news. Padley also works at the British Journal of Photography as the title’s projects editor.