A tactile experience with Jean Pierrot
To celebrate Slovenian photographer Jean Pierrot blessing us with his second book, we did a short Q&A over the mail discussing the creation of CLAY, his influences and approach to his work.
Congratulations on another stunning book. Could you tell us what inspired the creation of CLAY and the notion behind the title of CLAY?
Thank you for the kind words. Creation of life from clay or mud appears in the earliest mythologies. In recent years clay minerals were even proposed as possible genetic material in the origin of life so “CLAY” seemed like a perfect title for this book that explores that world.
Having made your first book Romance, did anything feel different the second time around?
The books are about something quite different. “Romance” was offering a look into my new-found admiration and encounter of natural beauty, perhaps even lust while “CLAY” is more conceptualised. After years of a photographing with a more documentary approach, creating “CLAY” in terms of content as well as an object, it actually somehow felt more like directing or even sculpting.
The texture of CLAY’s cover and paper looks incredible, what type of materials did you use for these?
This book is as bare and unclothed as its content. There’s a visible autonomy of the book. Once the book is in your hands, the whole skeleton and materials are revealed to you.
The images are entirely black and white in this project, why is that?
Black and white photographs can communicate a more coherent story. A clearer story of shapes, light and shadows, yet at the same time more room for your own imagination. Since we are used to seeing in colour, black and white can sometimes appear incomplete and otherworldly.
The connection between yourself and your models feels incredibly organic, what do you put that down to?
If as a spectator you feel emotion, something honest or simply an organic sentiment through my images, then that’s exactly what it is. I try my best to stay honest in my work. I believe honesty should be the most important input in art. So I hope it’s honesty that you see in the image — honesty between myself and the subject or even a landscape. If the reality is actually something else than what you perceive as a viewer, that just means I successfully fooled you. And even then, as Picasso said: “Art is a lie that makes us realise truth. At least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”
The natural environment plays a large part in your work, is there anything in particular you look for when finding a place to shoot?
As far as I can see, we live in one of the most visually unpleasant and offensive periods of human history. And these terms extend not only to aesthetics but also ethics. So, personally I have a hard time finding motivation to document the everyday human life. In nature however I’m less bound by time and well, the present. I look for what the director Werner Herzog called “embarrassed landscapes” when he spoke about the lack of adequate images in our world. Desolate and forgotten landscapes. Instinctively I look for the ancestral and primal in my environment and shapes around me, not only to capture in a photograph but to exist as well.
Who or what are your main artistic influences?
Lack of adequate images in the world could very well be one of the main motivations to improve and create better work. On the more emotional and sensory side though, aims of late 1880s Synthetism art movement really speak to me currently — “the outward appearance of natural forms; artist’s feelings about their subject and purity of the aesthetic considerations of line, colour and form.”
‘I want the book to feel like a simple, clear thought. Like a cold, sobering wind at the end of the summer.’
In what environment do you feel most creative?
Environment will normally serve mainly as a response to the sentiment in my mind or for what I want to communicate. If I end up photographing in a jungle or desert, it’s not because I’m there by chance but most likely because something predetermined internally brought me there.
What do you want people to feel after experiencing CLAY?
A forgotten sensibility that I experienced when diving into the making of this book and the CLAY exhibition. Simplicity is a modest term easy to step over in all its unpretentious greatness. I want the book to feel like a simple, clear thought. Like a cold, sobering wind at the end of the summer.
Hopefully people will have a tactile experience, not only with the book as an object but also with its content.
After book number two, what comes next for you?
There are two more books coming soon after CLAY. Both reportage, a more intimate one and another focused only on nature this time.
About the book
The second book of acclaimed photographer Jean Pierrot. A visual masterpiece that explores tactile simplicity through the natural environment and the human form. Limited to 1000 copies.
On a drooly Thursday morning, MENDO's Mikel van den Boogaard had a very fun conversation about our industry with Marlene Taschen, Managing Director at (- and daughter of Benedikt) Taschen.
On Saturday 12 January Daniel Arsham visited MENDO to sign his new book. In anticipation of the book signing, MENDO talked with the multidisciplinary artist.
In light of the release of LIFE = CRAZY, we talked with the protagonist himself: Martin Garrix.
Interview with David van Dartel
Photographer David van Dartel on his first book: This Time Tomorrow
A WhatsApp conversation with the photographer of This Is Not A F*cking Street Style Book
"I wasn't born with much of a filter. So when I see bullshit, I call "bullshit". A WhatsApp conversation with the photographer of This Is Not A F*cking Street Style…
The first MENDO publication of 2019 is a fact: Frame/Work, created in collaboration with Union, is a book that inspires every young metropolitan citizen.
We had a moment to talk with Colette, the mastermind behind most of the recipes you’ll find in The Avocado Show book.
The new MENDO
The word is out: in March, MENDO will open a new store at Hotel De L’Europe in Amsterdam. Here’s how the design, created by our friends from Nicemakers, came to…
In our series Shelf Sessions we climb the shelves of MENDO’s friends. In this episode: Pieter Henket, a Dutch photographer in NYC. Check some of the books we spied on…
Interview with Ali Kirby, art director at DENHAM
In January of 2018, DENHAM released the book A Decade of DENHAM, in collaboration with MENDO. We talked to DENHAM's art director Ali Kirby, driving force behind the book, about…
This month, MENDO and gloobles launch a rather delightful city guide, packed with hotspots, most of which you currently cannot visit. We had a chat with gloobles' founder Stephanie van…
Black Lives Matter
Gunifort Uwambaga, on overcoming racism, bigotry, and prejudice through books.
Signed copies of highly anticipated book
Lauren Greenfield spent 25 years documenting wealth and now her highly anticipated book has been published: Generation Wealth.
A conversation with Nicolas Cloutier, president and co-founder of Nose Paris
‘Doing a collaboration like this means 1+1 = 3', says Nicolas Cloutier, president and co-founder of Nose in Paris in a conversation about the MENDO / ZENOLOGY room perfume 'Libri'.
In March, MENDO and Rebel launched a book called Challenge Your Professional Life—a book that is more relevant now than ever. We talked with Rebels Lenny van Klink and Wout…
On January 11, Virgil Abloh, Nike and Taschen announced the book ICONS. In this journal we answer some frequently asked questions about the publication. UPDATED: April 20th, 2021.
Arguably the most notorious Dutch photographer ever
With an expo in Amsterdam, his name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue again.
In our series Shelf Sessions we climb the shelves of MENDO’s friends. In this episode: Gijs Determeijer; Executive Producer & Partner at HALAL.
An award-winning webshop
We try to stay humble at all times, but with news of this magnitude we simply can’t: MENDO.nl is eCommerce Site Of The Year at Awwwards. And that's massive!
Iman Whitfield on the curation of #SENDNUDES
Our newest book is in print! #SENDNUDES showcases stunning images from the world’s biggest talents in nude photography, curated from a female point of view by Iman Whitfield. We sat…