The colour white has always exerted a great attraction on people due to its purity, glistening brightness, magic and symbolism. The colour white is an integral part of human history, religions, world views and nature: “God said: Let there be light,” according to the Bible. In ancient Egypt, white was the colour of joy. The Romans called someone who was always lucky “a child of the white hen”. In Buddhism, the white lotus blossom is the symbol of enlightenment. Mankind needs white, the brightest of all colours, to survive, because it offers support in a world without stability.
Tom Jacobi traveled to seven continents over a period of two years, photographing breathtaking landscapes that unfold a timeless power and offer space for contemplation.His photographs celebrate the color white in an impressive way: Monumental, magical, as the opposite of black, as light against nothing and chaos.
From the introduction by Tom Jacobi:
I began to work on my trilogy Awakening in 2014.
Part One of the trilogy is the work Grey Matter(s), which symbolises, by means of a reduction to an almost colourless world, the way man emerged from the darkness. Grey Matter(s) was first presented as an exhibition in 2016. The accompanying book – also published by Hirmer – soon became a bestseller.
You are now holding Part Two of the trilogy. The photographs for Into the Light illustrate the way that we – coming out of the darkness – strive towards the light. For nearly two years, I travelled back and forth across the world, searching once more for archaic landscapes which either dominate by virtue of their light or open up to the light in unique moments. Gazing upwards towards the sun fills us with the brightest of all colours: White.
In his Theory of Colours, published in 1801, Goethe declared colours to be “real powers” and “acts of light”. We see and experience the world in diverse colours; since earliest times, they have influenced our daily lives consciously and unconsciously. The white flag is the symbol for capitulation, negotiation and peace. The monarchist movement which overthrew Napoleon was known as “The Whites”. In Italy, when the church state of Rome became the capital of the kingdom in 1871, two groups arose: “The Whites”, who supported the King, and “The Blacks”, who remained loyal to the pope. In former Yugoslavia, “The White Hand”, an association of officers loyal to the king, destroyed the secret nationalist association “The Black Hand” in 1917. And in Russia, the “White Guards” fought against the “Red Army” between 1918 and 1920.
Man needs white, the brightest of all colours, for survival, because it provides support in a world without stability.
With this knowledge of the power of the colour white, I went in search of landscapes which reveal a timeless strength. When viewing the pictures of Grey Matter(s), our gaze will generally turn inwards. The brightness of the pictures of Into the Light, by contrast, are meant to encourage us to look to the future. Dark grey and bright white: both these achromatic colours provide endless opportunities for contemplation.
So, if you are wondering what the third and final part of the trilogy will be, the title has already been decided: The Light Within. The work continues my reduction to the essentials and illustrates the fact that we bear this light within us. I hope you will remain favourably disposed towards me and my work in the future.
INTO THE LIGHT by Tom Jacobi
Subtitle: Between Heaven and Earth, between Light and Darkness
144 pages, ca. 56 Photographs
27 × 32 cm, Hardcover with foil stamping