Review by Gerhard Clausing •
What’s life all about? When all is reversed – the real seems fake, the fake seems real – what can we still count on? What does a reality full of errata (printed errors) look like, and how are we to function? Are we like a book, with old pages, as well as new ones, yet to come? Nuno Moreira’s latest project says that “life is like a book” – full of potential errors and unexpected twists and turns, with weighty implications. If everything functions in reverse, life becomes a printed book and the book reflects life itself. Can you read it? Can you view it? Can you stand it? And, most important of all, how do you approach it all? Can we proceed on the basis of uncertainty?
Well, let’s take a look. Moreira, a photographer interested in capturing “thoughts and mental landscapes,” presents us with a modern, elegant, slim object, with a custom-made black cardboard sleeve, a very personal object, hand-made in a small edition of 50 signed and numbered copies, and labels it “not a photobook, but an object.” It has a distinct look and seems to be something we should treasure and ponder over.
One of the items in my book collection comes to mind, a little prayer book from centuries ago, Geistlicher Schild (Spiritual Shield, 1647/1705; 5 x 10 cm/2 x 4 inches). It is a personal object that came with a leather satchel, “to be carried with you at all times,” as suggested on its title page. Such small objects reflecting the belief system of the majority seemed to give the owner a certain feeling of security, as you could make use of it to provide your life with specific meanings created by others. Everything was spelled out for the owner of that book.
Alas, our current time does not supply such easy answers for those who care enough to seek additional self-development. For those who are searching in earnest, complex meanings are much harder to find, most especially if you are not willing to take on pre-made solutions. Useful answers or approaches may be inside of us, or they may be outside of us, or they might be along the challenging lanes of mutual interdependency of the internal and external spheres.
Moreira provides us with a challenge full of enigma and mystery: the book is delivered to the person waiting by a mythical businessman. The pages of the book start blank and then fill gradually and darkly, so we must project our own thoughts onto them. Accompanying each of the images are texts written by David Soares that are quite philosophical and densely worded. These themes point to a universal connectedness, and the reader will need to make an effort to create light in the darkness, each of us to redesign a personal world in the context of our global babel (babble?).
One of the possibilities that derives from the idea that all lives are books: the number of pages is finite, and which of the ones we have already lived are reopened by us is our choice. The pages of these books are not clearly legible, and some of them are dark, as we all have moments of our lives that were not the best. But there are pages yet left to fill, and some reflection on things from our past that worked well may also help us be constructive in filling the pages that are left.
Since I received this book several weeks ago, I have had it pull me back in repeatedly, and each time I am able to derive new insights. The enigmatic presentation leads to sudden constructive moments of recognition. Congratulations, Nuno Moreira and David Soares, that is quite an accomplishment! This book has become a treasured part of my collection, just as that other object of guidance from centuries ago.
The PhotoBook Journal previously reviewed Nuno Moreira’s book She Looks Into Me.
Nuno Moreira – ERRATA.
Photographer/Artist: Nuno Moreira (born and lives in Lisbon, Portugal)
Self-published; © 2020
Texts: David Soares
Languages: Portuguese and English
Softcover with embossed cardboard slipcase; hand-stitched (French style); 52 unnumbered pages with 25 monochrome images; 5.5 x 8 inches (14 x 20.5 cm); first edition of 50 numbered and signed copies
Photobook Designer: NM Design
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