Nicolas Hosteing has assembled a complex photobook to explore the concept of fiction and as a result, raised essential similar questions as to what is reality. The book’s title, Matador, immediate creates images of the Spanish bullfighter killing a bull. The bullfighter also uses subterfuge, hiding his deadly sword within the flowing cape, similar to Hosteing’s metaphors of smoke and fog, concealing and revealing fictional stories.
Hosteing creates an interesting transition from motorcycle and car drivers “spinning rubber” and “smoking their tires” in the first half of this book to a double page and full bleed landscape photograph in which fog (smoke?) conceals the details. If Hosteing is exploring fiction and reality, then this photograph investigates the world of “half-truths” and a transitional place between reality and fiction.
What I find jarring is the last section of the book that is sequenced with double page and full bleed landscape photographs interceded with a series of motorcycle helmets studies in various orientations. Regretfully for me, this conceptual project progresses into a little too much complexity, and while the story by Julien Perez seems to hold together with a somewhat similar narrative flow, Hosteing’s photographic sequence is not entirely as elegant.
About the physical photobook; this is a case bound book with a tipped-in image on the front cover. For the series, Etrudes Books has chosen to maintain the same book size, outer cover and similar cover graphics. The publishers have chosen a publishing strategy to provide a soft-cover, saddle stitched insert to resolve the international language issue for the accompanying text. This insert handles and reads well. The entire first edition production of 300 copies is numbered, a growing trend for short run photobooks.