Sunday, 26 August 2012

Luca Zanier: Power Book

In this truly stunning book, photographer Luca Zanier, born 1966, offers us his view of the interior life of the power industry. We get to see pictures of the inside of nuclear power plants, gasworks, thermal power stations, an oil storage tank, an oil tanker etc.

The photos are aesthetically marvellous, the handling of angles and light captivating. Moreover, the format (27 x 37 cm) in which they are presented contributes considerably to the sense of wonder that the viewer will experience when looking at these pics.

To me, it felt like being in a science fiction movie. Without the captions (in the appendix) I would not have known that I was looking at parts of energy producing systems. What came to mind was Matthew B. Crawford's observation (in Shop Class as Soulcraft) that in our modern world we increasingly get less and less to see of the interior of complex machines.

Luca Zanier does show us such interiors. The effect his photographs had on me was however not so much educational but, strangely enough, rather made me feel like being on another planet.

There are two texts that accompany this impressive tome, one by André Küttel, the other by Bill Kouwenhoven. Küttel writes: "Abandoned worlds of concrete and steel reveal themselves to us, cathedrals of the modern age, temples of an energy devouring society that radiate a cold logic." I do not share his view. Cathedrals and temples are places of public worship and power plants are not. In addition, I not only hope but assume that these power facilities are manned and not abandoned.

In sum: an aesthetically exquisite achievement.

Luca Zanier
Power Book
Benteli Verlags AG, Bern 2012

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