The PhotoBook Journal

March 27, 2015

Matej Sitar – Morning Sun

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:57 pm

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Copyright 2014 Matej Sitar, published by Angry Bat, Ljubljana

Admittedly, this photobook review for Matej Sitar’s Morning Sun has been very slowly developing and for all of the right reasons. There are photobooks I have received which are over the top and very obvious as to subject, concept and content. Some of these are really good, some not, as to be so obvious as to leave me wondering why it was even published, a waste of perfectly good paper. The later do not warrant a review; my time is too precious, thus the reason that I am usually very positive about the photobooks that I write about, the others are usually donated to a library or good cause. (It is very difficult for me to put any book in the rubbish bin, no matter how awful it appears)

Morning Sun is a book that immediately connects with me, but it has been hard for me to put into words as to why. The book’s title is a fun play on words, as the subject of this book is his wife who is pregnant, as well as bit autobiographical, awaiting the arrival of their son. So each morning the sun arises to a new day, new events, and a new life.

As a father with two children, I get what it was like facing the unknown challenges and yet excited with anticipation for the first child. For guys, no matter how much we think that we are prepared, the first child is fun, exciting yet a mystery and an enigma and can be overwhelming. We are just not prepared for all about what is to occur, but I think we really do the best we can to prepare.

This is what I believe Sitar is exploring with this book; to be a guy who is soon to be a dad, attempting to understand the changes occurring on this nine month pathway to fatherhood.

I found this photobook subtle as to the subject, sequencing and layout. It is one that I experience in a non-verbal way, thus has been difficult to find the right words to provide meaning.  This is a personal and intimate body of work; a poetic sonnet rather that a narrative.

It contains an interesting mix of portraits and landscapes. The landscapes are mid-distance and also intimate exploring phases of life. The metaphoric photographs are introspective; changes, new life, attempting to anticipate what might soon be, while being open to the changes occurring now, external/internal,

Morning Sun was selected as one of my more interesting photobooks for 2014.

This is a hardcover book with linen covers and tipped in photograph on the front cover with embossed title. The printing is four color offset on 150 gm paper with a sewn binding.

Matej Sitar photobook previously reviewed on the photobook: America, My Way & America, My Way (Collectors Edition)

Cheers!

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January 23, 2014

Matej Sitar – America My Way; collector’s edition

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copyright Matej Sitar 2013 self-published by Sitar’s imprint The Angry Bat

When developing a photobook, there are always many decisions to make and one of those to consider is whether to create a limited edition photobook. Some photobooks, such as an artist photobook, are handmade in a very limited quantity. The downside to publishing only an artist photobook is that the small quantity does not allow many, if any, to be available to book reviews, bloggers and magazines. Thus a great many photographers who like the concept of a limited edition book will consider how to develop such a photobook in conjunction with the publication of their general (trade) photobook. The limited edition book may be lurking in the background while the photographer gauges the reception to the trade book or he/she may concurrently release a limited edition version on faith & trust with the trade photobook.

Matej Sitar published both a trade book for America, My Way, reviewed here, as well as a limited edition collector’s edition at the end of 2012, which I would like to discuss today.

The major changes to the collector’s edition is the linen covered solid box case (hinged clam shell with interior pocket) in lieu of the folded stiff-board cover of the trade photobook and the inclusion of an original SX-70 Polaroid print from this project.

The hinged clam shell is a classic design with a slight twist, one interior side is open and the three stiff-covered books slide into an interior pocket. The design retains the interior books while providing easy access for the reader. A really slick & well executed book design by 3ideje, d.o.o.

The SX-70 Polaroid photograph is held in place with classic corner stays, in this case made with the same linen material as those to wrap the clam shell boards. A subtle detail is that each clam shell outer cover has a laser printed image of the corresponding interior Polaroid print. The collector’s edition is limited to the number of SX-70 Polaroid prints, which is an edition of 39, while each book is virtually a 1/1 due to the uniqueness of the SX-70 Polaroid.

All in all, this makes for a very nice presentation. recommended.

The complete review of the trade edition of Sitar’s America,My Way, which includes the interior photographs, can be found here.

Sitar’s America, My Way was selected as one of my interesting photobooks for 2013 with my full selection here.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

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August 13, 2013

Matej Sitar – America My Way

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:24 pm

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copyright Matej Sitar 2012 self-published by The Angry Bat

Tucked away inside the deceivably simple folding cover is an interesting and complex set of overlapping photobooks. The entirety focuses on selected moments of a road-trip journey, which in this case Sitar’s subject is the Pacific coast of the United States.

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Interior and three books – America, My Way

The three interior photobooks have a shared text but vary in regard to the photographic plates, where some of the images and text are repeated and common to all three book copies. To help illustrate, I have included examples below of the two alternative layouts; unique or shared.

I find that this is an interesting way to explore the differences in that can occur when experiencing a road trip amongst friends. It seems that whenever we gather after one of these events, regardless of length or duration, there are those things seen uniquely and others experienced as a group. The repeated photographs represent those events that for whatever reason are seared into the shared memory and become a common touch point.

Likewise, this is a very nice narrative on the aspects of memory and its preservation. The photographs that vary are a reflection of our individuality in looking and seeing, as well as how memory will change events over time.

Another alternative in reading these books is offed by Sitar as “to show the vast amount of possibilities that a journey can offer.” These books can be read singularly or as a group to create a triptych that increases the complexity of this narrative.

As a book object, it is rather complex and layered. The outer folding cover, with the essay by James A. Reeves printed on the interior side, is complete with a magnetic closure. The three interior stiff-cover photobooks are four-color offset printing with saddle stitch binding.

Douglas Stockdale for The PhotoBook

Note: getting the color balance correct for the book interiors was very vexing this time, so just know that all of the books have the same off-white color of paper for each of the three books. I will take the credit for not getting the color corrected. Please limit your use of poison darts to just three.

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