I first met Kaushal Parikh around 6 years ago— when he first invited me to Mumbai, to teach some street photography workshops there. He was one of the first street photographers I got to know really intimately— and I was always inspired by his passion for black-and-white photography, seeing beauty in the everyday world, and his dedication to the photographic community.
“Fragments of a Spinning Rock” is his first self-published book. I recently got a copy of it in the mail (thanks KP) and wow— the book truly blew me away.
Photographic experience > images
I think what makes a great photo-book is that it isn’t just a collection of a photographer’s best images. Rather, it is an experience. The photos of “Fragments of a Spinning Rock” show me an intense and personal journey through the gritty streets of Mumbai. Not only that, but it shows KP’s personal relationship with his family, son, while juxtaposing the streets and nature.
I would say the closest thing I could relate this book to is “Minutes to Midnight” by Trent Parke. KP uses intense flash to illuminate the dark streets, and his use of blown-out highlights really give the book a surreal look and feel.
Furthermore, I love the editing, layout, and formatting of the book. What he did which was quite innovational in this book was incorporating the beautiful poetry that plays off his images. The poetry is strategically interspersed through the book, which acts like chapters in the book.
Also a bit hard to explain over the internet, but each “chapter” is separated with a partial view of a photograph, while the next page shows the entire page. It is a truly unique experience that you can only experience with the book in-hand.
The more I read it, the more I love it
What I also love about the book is that every single time I look at the book, I feel something different. The book gets more and more interesting (the more I read it). I think this is the case of a great photo book— that you see little details in photographs that you don’t notice the first time.
Sure we can see a lot of images on the internet for free, but the great advantage of looking at a photo-book is to appreciate the pairing of images, the flipping of the pages, the texture of the paper, as well as the fact that you can enjoy the book without the agency of a digital device.
A hybrid of “street photography” and “personal photography”
KP’s book inspires me to make something similar— a book that is a hybrid of “street photos” as well as personal photos. I can only imagine how difficult it was for him to edit and sequence the book— to create a visual story through the pages. Not only that, but I think this will be a beautiful gift for his son.
A book made with love is immediately apparent to the viewer. Love bursts through the seams, and KP’s gritty yet beautiful monochromatic images live with me.
Thank you for making such a fantastic book KP. If you’re reading this, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book. I think this will easily become a collector’s book one day, so order one before they all get sold out (it is seriously the best photo-book I’ve looked at since “Minutes to Midnight” by Trent Parke, and “Wonderland” by Jason Esekanzi).
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