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Shedding Light

Book publishing & exhibition

Shedding Light

Compositions of industrial and nature photography

On the occasion of the vernissage of the book Shedding Light on 4 November 2016, Bioengineering AG in Wald (ZH) exhibited large-format versions of some of the photographs of nature and industry featured in the publication. The book includes photographs capturing some unique biotechnological plants as they have been manufactured by Bioengineering AG for almost 45 years.

The publication Shedding Light, of which 15,000 copies were printed by DreiPunktVerlag in 2015, gathers together 56 black-and-white photographs by Paolo Sarti as well as poetic texts by Kieran O’Connor.

The starting point was a stock of 3,000 industrial photographs, from which a small selection was made according to carefully developed criteria. This formed the essence of the publication. The combination of industrial and nature photography came about as part of a creative process. The pairing of images draws parallels between the respective photographic perspectives, which can be seen here both in the photography of nature and in the images of the plants.

The book is divided into five chapters, which are each assigned a different grey scale. When arranged next to one another, the grey scales create a progression running from white to black. They represent a compression of the ten-zone system developed by the American photographer Ansel Adams (1902–1984).

In the exhibition, the five chapters are spread across the five floors of the main building. The pictures with predominantly dark grey tones are located on the lowest floor.

Ansel Adams, who is best known for his impressive landscape photographs, is the source of inspiration for Bioengineering’s photographer. As a pioneer of ‘straight photography’ and one of the most significant American photographers, towards the end of the 1930s he developed a zone system which moves from black to white in ten stages. He used this to help transfer the contrast range of the subject to the contrast range of black-and-white film, with the aim of producing technically perfect negatives which would enlarge well.

The chapters in Shedding Light are entitled Constance, Emergence, Confluence, Abundance and Luminance. These are concepts from the physics of light, whose significance is reflected both in the text and the images, i.e. in the photography and the poetic introductory text by Kieran O’Connor. The complete portfolio of the publication can be seen in the buildings of Bioengineering AG, with the quotes on the wall referring to the poems of O’Connor.

  • Book publishing & exhibition

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