Various Artists – Mono

Mono is an impressive 270-page hardback volume exploring the medium of black and white photography through an extensive range of contemporary photographers. Often with books of this kind, it can be disappointing to find the artists regimented in some way – organized into sections or in alphabetical order – which can be to the detriment of the edit.  In this first volume of Mono (there is a proposed trilogy) however, it could not have worked better and we are taken on a flowing visual journey through the work of each artist. The writhing bodies in Antoine D’Agata’s work slip languidly into the blurred scenes of Michael Ackerman’s photographs, the stories and symbols of Chris Rain echo those of Roger Ballen just before him, and endless motifs of beds and forests, animals and faces recur throughout the book in a deliriously beautiful, dreamlike mass. The book is a powerful representation of a medium revered for it’s unique timelessness, and with so many more photographers whose focus is black and white photography, it leaves an exciting space in which to speculate who should come next.

Various Artists 
Gomma Books
£31 / 270pp / Oct 2012

Reviewed by Joanna Cresswell
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