Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato’s artists’ book Light of Other Days consists of a selection of 44 of a total of 90 luscious black and white photographs of curious acts and objects. Most of the events and temporary sculptures are represented by more than one photograph, imbuing the subjects with faceted characters. The series, Light of Other Days, was made in their Berlin studio in 2009 and bears the hallmarks of a creative collaboration that began in 2003. The beautiful duotone printed book makes masterful reference to classic photo book magic. The photographs are accompanied by the short story “Eighteenth Voyage” from Stanislaw Lem’s Memoirs of a Space Traveller of 1982.
Light of Other Days carries a clear photographic style, rooted in the rich aesthetic of the black and white positive paper. The 20 x 24 cm sheets are placed directly in the back of a large camera and each unique image has an exposure time of at least one minute. While the artists recognise the sensuous presence of this recently re-issued printing paper (released to them during the manufacturer’s research and development stage) the value of using a revivalist analogue process at a loaded moment in photographic culture is not the dominant statement here. The photographic paper is better thought of as an idiosyncratic scribe of events that Onorato and Krebs set up in their studio. The handcrafted or found objects and the quasi-phenomenological experiments depicted in the long-exposures define their own narratives, just as novelists sometimes describe the alchemic process through which a character develops its own journey, independent of the active orchestration of the author.
Text by Charlotte Cotton, originally published in Photoworks magazine issue 18.
Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs were both born in 1979 in Switzerland. They live and work collaboratively in Berlin.