A Young Person Recommends... The Missing Eye

A photograph of the front cover of a book.

A Young Person Recommends... The Missing Eye

On Photographers

Yazid Rowe-Habbari reviews the photobook The Missing Eye by Mattia Parodi and Piergiorgio Sorgetti.

The main themes within The Missing Eye include the subconscious, dreams, and reality. The photographs within the book are uncompromising and surreal glimpses of a world where sight no longer reigns supreme. Instead, the other sensations rise to the occasion, working in an imperfect state of unison. Within this sense of ordered chaos, Mattia Parodi and Piergiorgio aim to place the viewer into the shoes of those blind from birth who, though unable to witness the reality surrounding them, have the ability to dream visually. The photographs investigate this clash between the conscious and subconscious through black and white photographs, which remove all distractions of colour for the viewer while withholding any context that they would find familiar to restore themselves back to the real world.

What interests me about this book is that at first, it may seem that there is not a clear narrative thread running through it, with the images organised seemingly at random. However, this is not the case. On closer inspection one notices motifs within. For example, the theme of water, specifically the surface, distorts all that enters its environment, therefore relating to the surreal nature of the book. Secondly, the motif of shape in which geometry reveals itself through the subject’s form and their surroundings as negative space. This illustrates the efforts of the conscious side to take control, searching for patterns within disorder.

The only writing included is a poem entitled Grapefruit Juice by Ginevra Shay. This alludes to the main themes within The Missing Eye such as the subconscious, dreams, and reality. For instance, the line, “If the dream is the liberation of the spirit the walk is a physical becoming.” This passage informs the reader of one of the concepts to expect in the photographs. At the same time it elaborates on a quote of Sigmund Freud, “the dream is the liberation of the spirit from external nature.” This further emphasises how the investigation into the mind is at the core of this book.

What drew me towards this work is that while reading it I felt compelled to try and make connections between the images of different subjects on each double-page. This sense of examination encouraged me to pay more attention to how the individual photograph contributed to the overall sequence and allowed the meaning of each one to shift if the book was read from the last page to the first.

This book influenced my approach to photographic novels and the arrangement of images. By including blank pages the reader is able to reset and view each photograph as if it were from the start. Additionally, I was able to learn that the framework of a narrative can be altered to add depth to the sequence as a whole, by interspersing snapshots of one story within another. One such example is the addition of the stand-alone narrative of a black butterfly unfurling its wings contrasted against the blinding white of a concrete windowsill.

- Yazid Rowe-Habbari

Front cover of book.

Mattia Parodi & Piergiorgio Sorgetti: The Missing Eye

The Missing Eye is research that turns the photographic device to visual projections that aren’t deduced from our immediate experience of reality but are the result of the combination of different cognitive paths in which all senses participate insight. 


Buy Now