This is not so much a review as a simple signpost to an important book.
A Visual Inventory is a collection of annotated images with the photographs taken by the British architect John Pawson when travelling. The book is about colour and about light - so how colours change with different qualities of natural light - but the images are also about the photographer being aware of and sensitive to shape and form and texture and pattern and of age or how buildings and landscapes and materials change over time … those basic elements of all architecture and all design. Above all, the photographs invoke a strong awareness of place as different latitudes and different climates can be associated with what are often distinct colour ranges or tones and with specific patters and forms of building.
Above all the book is an insight into how an architect and designer sees his world and what draws his attention and what, specifically, he looks at and records for inspiration in his work.
Single images are printed on each page with short notes but are set in pairs across each double-page spread and linked by shapes or subjects or location. None of the photographs have been cropped or altered so the process of taking the photographs is clearly considered with care so they reflect, in a straightforward and honest way, the reaction to the subject by the photographer at a specific moment.
John Pawson also has an Instagram site that should be bookmarked by anyone trying to appreciate and understand our landscapes and our buildings in terms of colour and tone and texture.
A Visual Inventory, John Pawson, Phaidon (2012)