It is somewhat of a cliché that contemporary photography has become sterile. It is supposed to be addicted to cold imagery, which is mostly devoid of humans. In any cliché, there is a grain of truth. But because it really is just a tiny grain and because the cliché ultimately is just an oversimplification and distortion, it does not provide a useful basis from which to explore contemporary photography. A beautiful example for why this cliché is so flawed is provided by Taj Forer’s Threefold Sun. Threefold Sun is firmly rooted in contemporary photography, and its photos contain a very quiet poetry.
The photography in Threefold Sun depicts a world that I am only vaguely familiar with. A friend of a very close friend is a teacher at a Waldorf school, and what little I know about these schools I know from him. Waldorf schools are based on the thinking of Rudolf Steiner, who - as far as I can tell - had many ideas on many different topics. He wrote many of them down and transformed them into something that would apply those ideas, with Waldorf schools or biodynamic farming being just two examples.
It is the world centered around Steiner’s ideas that Threefold Sun shows, often employing surprising still lifes, scenes that at first appear barren, but that then reveal deeper meaning - provided you allow them to settle in. You can tell, there is a different pace in the world shown, and to fully appreciate the book, one needs to try to calm down a bit. Threefold Sun possesses a quiet beauty, and I think it’s one of the finest recent examples of showing the human spirit through photos, many of which do not contain any people.
I think Threefold Sun will be remembered as one of the highlights of this year’s set of photography book.