For Koos Breukel’s first solo in Paris thirty-nine of his portraits were collected in a small volume, sandwiched between French and English texts.
Even the panel member who thought the designer’s approach was possibly a little over-cautious agreed with the general appreciation of the book’s modest format, the choice of paper and the technical handling of the photographs. These days many photobooks derive their impact from exaggerated inking in the printing press, one effect of which is a greasy appearance. Here the portraits are equally powerful and nuanced, but they are reined in by a muted tone which, together with the Breukelian chiaroscuro, evokes a sense of compassion – even though these are penetrating portraits (almost too penetrating, for at least one panel member). Colour and monochrome, full spreads and blank pages appear in carefully managed succession.
Metallic blue on the dust jacket, endpapers and spine. And a blissfully text-free front cover. A Breukel portrait is all the signature a book needs.