Oculus. Ken Schles (USA).
Photographs by Ken Schles
Concept, text and design by Ken Schles
Oculus. Such a beautiful latin word. It means “eye” and refers to a “circular window” used to admit light and air in architectural structures. Oculus, the book, is gorgeous: fine design, attention to details, excellent printing. The photographs are magnificent: they are abstract, personal, dreamy, meditative. One will definitely enjoy holding the book and looking through the pictures.
But, Oculus is a unique book. It offers more. Ken Schles is not only a talented photographer but also a brilliant writer. His skill to combine an interesting philosophical writing, personal experiences/questions and great images, makes Oculus a rewarding intellectual journey. It is an investigation of how images and memories work together, how they influence each other and how we build our worlds based on those experiences. “Our perceptions and beliefs follow the arc of our lives as we build our perceptual tools, memory upon memory, and image upon image”.
The book begins with a theoretical essay with analysis and references to Vilém Flusser, Luis Buñuel, Aristotel, Nabokov and, obviously, Plato. It followed by four chapters that explore the nature of experiences, images, memories, existence and their correlations. Oculus is a personal exploration of a nature of photography itself. Oculus ends with a very personal note which explains photographer’s questions, struggles and inspirations. It is a powerful book: you close it only to open again and learn more.