Last week, we introduced to our readers the new book 36 by Tang Ho Lun. This week, we are having a talk with Furze, the designer of the book. Chan and Tang are the co-founders of the indie publisher 1984 Publishing. The 36 book launch exhibition is her first time curating a show. Let us listen to what she says about 36.
Furze Chan ‘36’
As if nature was designing.⟨ 23 May 2019 ⟩
Following the source of light, we have an encounter with a sound that we don’t usually hear.
Departing from where you were is an essential step to restore your energy after working really hard. Just let yourself be elsewhere, things would look freshened up once you are back. This is a lot like the sake brewing process, where most of the time you do nothing but wait for the optimal outcome. Just let go and be led by chances, after all, there can be numerous possibilities before things take any shape.
“I just left it there for a while when I was in the middle of something, then it suddenly popped up in my mind.” “A book can be designed without a cover.” After a period of time, fragments of random thoughts finally got actualized.
As a designer, she would instantly respond to the content of the book, but it takes time for her to genuinely digest and know how she feels about the book as a whole. “The design process allows me to actually understand the photos, so I only get to know them thoroughly after I’ve finished my design. When I’m done with my job, I can finally look at them without thinking how to execute the design.” This is a course of intricate relationships between rationality and sensibility.
No matter how familiar she is with the photographer, they are, after all, two individuals who cannot know precisely what each other wants. The time spent on figuring out each other’s real thoughts can be so challenging yet exciting.
“I had to reveal my entire self without hiding. I use my sensibility to interpret the photos and use the best way to present them. This is, to me, very personal. I have to be moved by the photos to achieve this result. The only brief she received from Tang was, “There is no need to rearrange the order of the photos. I need to keep the order of the 36 frames as they were. His other request was to use the method of the accordion fold.”
There are some lines of poem-like text in the book, it is not easy to incorporate them without interrupting the flow of images.
“Photographer is only one of his many roles. He is also very fond of literature, so textual content is also an essential element to his work. Therefore I had to consider them seriously.”
In the final print, the texts are aligned irregularly like the pattern of breath. They simply scatter randomly without any rule on the pages.
“Or else it will disrupt the fluidity.” She took extra care not to disturb the author’s thoughts that are constantly incidental. “But I also wanted to avoid giving the text an overwhelming presence.” Giving the text a very light grey color, they appear like mumbling instead of a loud speech.
“He seems to have extracted the shadow and images from their physical space and time. Sometimes I feel it unnecessary to know exactly where are the woods because the images are already powerful enough.”
Without editing, a nice sequence just came naturally.
“This one has a special light, why does it look like stripes? It is as if nature was designing.”
“When a photo can move you in an unexplainable way, it is the best photo. The comprehensible emotions can be easily forgotten, but the unexplainable ones always stay in your mind.” Feeling is what stays, it seems temporary yet it can last eternally.
The series of photos and the book exist because of light. Let’s go into this piece of glittering woods and see the irreproducible moments that the photographer/writer experienced.
「36」EXHIBITION & BOOK LAUNCH by Tang Ho Lun
2019.5.18 (Sat) – 6.2 (Sun)
Mon & Tue : closed
Wed – Fri : 2-8pm
Sat & Sun : 12-7pm
A Beautiful Store
3/F, 194 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong
※ Photographer at the store : 2019.5.24 (6-8pm) & 5.26 (3-5pm)