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The Book Column : Symphony by Nobuo Iida


For The Eye of Photography, photographic books are as important as an exhibition or a portfolio. They make the history and the actuality of the medium. Our correspondent Zoé Isle de Beauchaine takes a tirelessly curious and informed look at the latest releases.

For ten years, the Japanese photographer Nobuo Iida has been taking pictures of plants, with a blur that borders on abstraction. The result is Symphony, an opus of great beauty that will delight the pupils of lovers of color.

The series of images that make up Symphony was born of a catastrophe. That of the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. In the days that followed, Nobuo Iida felt the need to escape the dark atmosphere of the country by turning to nature. During an outing, he was struck by the light reflecting off the plants, giving the effect of “many suns shining like chandeliers or fireworks.”

Wanting to capture this particular brilliance of plants and their colors, he had the idea of photographing them using lenses unsuited to his camera, producing blurred images of great luminosity. The result is a series of colorful views where “plants and lights merge, incorporating joy and mystical nostalgia.”

Alternating between frantic movements and moments of calm, abstract paintings and nebulous portraits where the outline of a flower can be guessed here and there, Symphony evokes music as much as painting. Its shimmering colors are a remedy to the gloom and take us on a dreamlike journey to the heart of the expressiveness of the plant kingdom.

The A4 format of the book and the full-page printing of the images allow the reader to fully immerse himself in this splendid kaleidoscope. The glossy paper enhances light and color while the choice of a simple layout does not alter the strength of the series.

Sensitive and bewitching, Symphony is the third publication of Cé éditions, a young independent company whose first productions show a bright future.


Nobuo Iida – Symphony
First edition
Available in bookstores or online

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