Iles des Dieux

a2a95a561bfbfe93db2bcf55c655391f

So once again, my study of photobooks and my interests in Indonesian photography have coincided.

Schuh06

I recently read Swiss Photobooks from 1927 to the Present:  A Different History of Photography, edited by Peter Pfrunder, and as a result found this great book by photographer Gotthard Schuh.

tumblr_maudwzPFkd1qhao9bo1_500

In the late 1930’s, Gotthard spent time photographing in Java, Sumatra, and Bali.  Later he published a book of his photographs from the islands, accompanied by his writings and travelogue.  The book is published in Dutch, French, and German – Eilanden der Goden, Iles des Dieux, and Inseln der Gotter – Islands of the Gods.

%25C2%25A9%2520Gotthard%2520Schuh%252C%2520ca.%25201938-39%252C%2520Preparing%2520a%2520fighting%2520cock%252C%2520Bali_thumb%255B2%255D

In today’s day and age, it is pretty easy to criticize his perspective on Indonesian culture (he gives particular attention to the bare-breasted ladies), and yet the book has an undeniable appeal.

schuhC

I recently picked up a copy of the 1954 edition of Iles des Dieux.  The rotogravure prints illustrating the book are lovely, quite exceptional production standards.  And while he does fall for the women – in Bali in particular – he generally makes an earnest attempt to engage Indonesian culture, and offers a broad, visual perspective.

schuhB

In the text provided in Swiss Photobooks, particular praise is given to Gotthard’s writing, really suggesting his writing makes this more than a standard, romantic vision of the Orient.

5pastedGraphic.tiff.converted

Alas, until I can sit down with my French dictionary, I’ll take delight in the rich gravure prints, and the romantic yet honest attempt to engage with Indonesian culture.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s