Book release today: Metrograd by Markus Anderson
Markus has been working on the project Metrograd for more than ten years - in a certain way this is his story about the new century, the new Millenium. He is well qualified for this mission. Apart from being a great photographer Markus is also an archaeologist
Metrograd is not the kind of book you pick up in a waiting room or read on a bus. The format 16x16 cm makes it a great companion in bed late at night. If you are up late it is probably the right time to enter the world depicted in this remarkable book.
The opening picture ( above ) is the first picture that I saw when Markus started his project.
It is the entrance to Metrograd - enter at your own risk. This imaginary place will not bring you farandula or shimmering lights, not even a happy ending. It is the story about our time seen through the lens of Markus Anderson.
The introduction to the story offers you no guidance in words, no clue to where it will take you. It is still a very strong opening, eight pictures in all. The greys and blacks dominate - if you get a glimpse of the sky it is either overcast or obscured by dark objects. In one picture you could actually sense a small piece of clear skies, but the surroundings suggest that it is just temporary.
The first part is introduced by a few words; "Metrograd. Tuesday. Misty weather..." The narrator is in an apartment building where the view from third floor is equal to what he sees from first floor. The picture above is utterly expressive and would of course stand out even as an individual picture.
The photographer lies out his "thesis" in 12 pictures with floating greys and blacks. Metrograd offers no escape, resistance is futile... You have to read the signs carefully to find any comfort. The last two pictures are terrific and hits you hard. You are tempted to take a step back and leave the book for a moment.
If you continue to the second chapter without pausing you will be surprised to watch elegant, graphic pictures with plenty of whites. The mood changes. The narrator has stopped walking; "it became too dark behind the mask" We are presented to the antithesis, generous and almost playful, suggesting that Metrograd was nothing but a bad dream.
It goes on like this in ten pictures and then suddenly you are thrown back to the gutter where the rats rule. In this chapter with a total of 16 pictures, Markus finally leads you back to the underworld. And just like in the previous part of the book - the last two pictures hit you hard in the stomach.
So what about the synthesis? In the final chapter ( 18 pictures ) I get the feeling that the narrator (photographer) has resumed walking, restless, looking for signs that indicates a way out from the dystopian city. He finds two footprints but where are they leading?
There are some openings, but are they worth the effort? We are left without a map and even the one-man bunker looks like an option. I think I will rather try the forgotten passage in the forest.
It is indeed an intriguing book. Markus has not taken the easy way out. He could have included some pictures that are more appealing to a broader public, but has dismissed that option. The pictures are seamlessly supporting the vision of Metrograd. The overall impression is indeed of greater importance than lining up individual "crowd-pleasers".
I like the cover a lot, there is a genuine feel to it. The black pages on the inside of the cover are perhaps not my taste, but I get the idea.
Metrograd by Markus Anderson is an indispensable photo book - you should get your hands on a copy of it right away.
You can order it here
You may also send an email to order the book directly from the photographer.
If you live in Gothenburg or if you are visiting the city - this is the place to be!