One reason for my interest in her work is that Bartocha, through her images, makes the ordinary in nature into the extraordinary. She seeks out aspects of nature that most of us might pass by, rather than pay attention to. As Bruno Amicis, the Italian photographer says in his Foreword:
“Besides her unique attention to almost negligible details – elusive and concealed subjects that seek for an empathetic eye to reveal themselves – I was stupefied by her visual abilities.” (Bartocha 2022)
As I turn to produce my own handmade Artist’s book, I am interested in the presentation and format of the book itself and the images within. There is significant variation in size, format, and presentation across the two-page spreads. As I turn the pages, I spend time with each image, some full pages, some smaller versions, and also square images. The format of the book is a rather unusual 4 x 5 ratio of 24 x 30cm which serves the square images well and allows for white space to cradle the image on the page. I am attracted too by the material used for the cover – one of Sandra’s images has been printed onto fine linen. The shapes in the image have been highlighted with metallic silver – the same colour used for the title of the book. The use of silver highlights serves to lift the image and give it an almost 3D effect.
In her Introduction, Bartocha speaks of not being afraid to capture the obvious as she says that the variation is provided through every moment being different and ephemeral. She has a clear passion for her homeland and does not seek, like many, to create an impact by searching out the exotic:
“I am never concerned with photographing what is obvious because what I photograph is often only a fleeting glimpse. It is that serendipitous moment when everything comes together and is right for me.” (op cit).
I am interested in the sequencing of the images as there are 119. Her images cover a full colour palette, but she tends to use colour as a means to bring images together on the page. Although there are times when she combines two primary colours together too. Another interesting feature of the book is that Bartocha has included words (fragments of thoughts) by a friend Claudia Muller to accompany some of her images. Muller speaks of her ‘word pictures’ capturing the essence of her visual experience, thoughts, and feelings.
I am hugely impressed by the quality of the book, the images, and the care and attention to detail. Bartocha’s visual ability to capture light and the shapes, forms and textures of the landscape is quite outstanding. In my view and reflecting back on my own photographic work and academic research, I believe that Sandra Bartocha too is seeking to capture the allure in her images.
Bartocha, S. (2022). Rhythm of Nature. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lys Publishing.