Images are supposed to be maps but they turn into screens: instead of representing the world, they obscure it until human beings’ lives finally become a function of the images they create. Human beings cease to decode the images and instead project them, still encoded, into the world ‘out there,’ which meanwhile itself becomes like an image–a context of scenes, of states of things.
— Vilem Flusser
Yesterday evening, the ICP Bookstore gave photography book enthusiasts a chance to see and meet Ken Schles, who was signing his newest monograph, Oculous. Oculous, released this October by Stichting Aurora Borealis, is an absolutely drop dead gorgeous, twelve inch by nine inch, ninety-six page book-fetishist’s delight; A half linen bound cover, quietly beautiful images printed on double gate-folded matte paper and deep red, foldout end pages enclosed in black foil.
The book opens with a theoretical statement set to illuminate the photographic content and closes with a more personal explanation of the project, wherein Schles describes his motivation, process and struggles. He writes, “The images we use to describe our lives are legion; they are nuanced and layered as they mimic and mock life itself.”
Within the context of Schles writing, I view his images as a meditation on the artists’ struggle to create a relationship between experience and photographic representation. Oculous acts as a porthole into Schles ongoing inquiry into the nature of photography.