With the growing number of small publishing houses, photo books are flooding the market with, sometimes, very innovative forms. However, an innovative form does not make a quality book, but what we can see with the evolution of the world of the photo book, is that a kind of cleavage is appearing in photography between an exhibition of prints and a narration proposed in a book form. The book has become an object by itself, and sometimes the photographer’s work truly finds an end in the book object.
At first glance, Alex Llovet’s book surprises us. His title is barely readable, in black-on-black and written in a rotating manner, intriguing and prevalling from the outset a certain caution on what we will find, meet, cross in the book.
The book opens with a full-page image, as will be found throughout the book. A man, behind a plastic tarpaulin, seems to observe, from afar, behind a curtain, a world, or more precisely a broken-down world map, which, according to our ethno-centric representations, has its head down ! As if to tell us that we have to be ready to change all our preconceptions and let the world surprise us without any fear of what will be next. The title will not be repeated as often expected and, once the first page is turned, we discover a double blank page with two inscriptions, head to tail, in English and Spanish « no one » and « nadie ». Then begins a long journey made of sequences.
The first sequence of images is upside down and you have to turn the book to look at them, although there is some curiosity to look them upside down, as if to find a hidden meaning or to leave our unconscious speaking (and thus some signs appear). It’s all the more strange that, now, in order to advance in the book, we have to turn the pages as if to go backwards… until we discover a new double page with, again, inverted texts, which seem to progress « no one leaves ». A new sequence appears, asking again to resume the classic reading of the book. The last assertion will deliver us finally, not an answer, but rather a key of reading « no one leaves childhood unsattled » and in Spanish « nadie sale de la infancia ileso ». The progression is done by trial and error, between fear and joy, amazement and hope… And thus we walk beside the photographer.
The photos plunge us into the dream world of childhood. We meet children who grown up in a rural world and who cross this universe of fear, fascination and excitement. Beware of the dog tells us about fears, those we feel when we are children, those we feel when we are adults, those we feel when we are parents, in short, those that we feel through all ages of life, but have the consistency of reality making us alive. Alex’s book brings no more answers than he asks questions, he simply and gently poses moments that he gives us to contemplate. The book is elliptical, both in its sequences and in its entirety, once finished, just return it to resume the course of the story, for a moment stopped.
All the strength of this work finds here its perfect form. The images of everyday life, of the author’s daughters, to whom the book is finally dedicated and which we have been able to glimpse, refer to other images that have remained in our memory. The images, individually, are beautifully crafted, but, put end to end, side by side, forward, backward, it allows us to enter the intimacy of Alex Llovet. Not in a voyeuristic intimacy that would not interest us, but rather closer to the feelings, and then “Beware of the dog” is not so scary, we are warned and then we become attentive…
After the book « Faraway so close », « Beware of the dog » could be considered as the chapter two of « being a father » author’s own questionning.
Hardcover book published in an edition of 225 copies by Ediciones Posibles. 16,5 x 25 cm. 116 pages and 66 color photographs.