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Amazon Review by Conrad J. Obregon
"This book is divided into four parts. The first, "Mathematical Forms: Surfaces" and the second "Mathematical Forms: Curves" consist of photographs of models that were created to illustrate trigonometric equations for mathematical study in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, like conic projections and spheres. The third part, "Mechanical Forms" shows models from the 19th century that demonstrated mechanical movements like cams and gears. The fourth part consists of photographs taken of an installation of the pictures from the first three parts as well as Sugimoto's reproduction of Marcel Duchamp's "Large Glass, or The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even". This last part is so different from the first three that it must be considered on its own.
The first three parts show the models, in black and white prints, all apparently illuminated by a single light from the left, and because of this light, modeled in a way similar to the first drawings of a shadowed apple, made in a drawing class to teach the student how to create three dimensions on a two dimensional surface. The backgrounds to the models are completely in black. Sugimoto has said that although these models were created without artistic intention, they illustrate that "Art is possible without artistic intention and can be better without it."
Certainly the models are quite beautiful in their own right, but I suspect that if we saw, for example, one of these sets of gears, encrusted with grease in a machine, we might pass by it without a second glance or thought. Clearly, as far as these photographs go, it is the photographer's intention to portray the beauty of these objects, and to impose form on the content, that makes them beautiful and that makes the photographs art.
Each of the pictures is accompanied by text which describes what formula is portrayed (including the actual equations).."