Monday, January 30, 2012

Watching the Weather Change by Marco van Duyvendijk


My review of Marco van Duyvendijk's Watching the Weather Change (Self-Published, 2011) is now available at photo-eye. You can get the book here.
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Quiet and meditative, Watch the Weather Change is a loosely structured collection of personal images that meander through Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Netherlands. An impressionistic journal, van Duyvendijk's book weaves together such seemingly disparate images as a puppet-maker in his workshop, Hong Kong cityscapes and portraits of an attractive Asian model to make this modest, but elegant book. Part poetry, personal journal and documentary, van Duyevendijk's book is an alluring mix of photographic fragments, tranquil moments and half traveled roads.

 All images © Marco van Duyvendij

The book begins with a series of abstract Polaroid minis and then moves through a series of city and seascapes. From there we visit a puppet maker's studio before moving to more East Asian landscapes, portraits, nudes and still-lives. Interspersed through the book are quotations, a poem by Jo Landheer and a series of email exchanges between the photographer the model who appears later in the book. Mixing photographs, Polaroids, emails and poems also give the book a diaristic feel – like Van Duyevendijk is gathering material, taking notes and responding to the world around him as he travels.

  All images © Marco van Duyvendij
 All images © Marco van Duyvendij

Disposition, the song by Tool that gives the book its title and whose lyrics begin the book, offers a framework to understanding the book and work. A trippy prog-rock song, the lyrics do not extend much beyond the title, but the moody and evocative nature of the song pushes the listener to find their own meaning in its ambiguity. Looking through the book, there is almost a feeling of playful free association, like we are looking through van Duyevendijk's contact sheets from a recent trip. At first glance, it almost seems like these are all outtakes from a larger or on-going project in East Asia. There are a few images of the Netherlands, but those are not necessarily identifiable. While none of the individual subjects seem to completely coalesce on their own, as we move from one to the next we can't help but surrender to van Duyvendijk's quiet rhythm and whimsy.

 All images © Marco van Duyvendij

Self-published and designed, van Duyvendijk's close attention to the layout, sequencing, and production of the book pays off. From the simple, but tasteful belly band, to the blind stamped spine and restrained matte printing, Watch the Weather Change is an elegant and precious book. Lacking bombast, van Duyvendijk's book offers us a fleeting glimpse of his world, the places he visits and people he meets - allowing us to savor and find meaning in the fragments of a journey.

Please note: This review originally appeared on photo-eye on January 30th, 2012. You can get the book here.

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