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This project is the result of a unique fusion between photographer Viviane Sassen and philosopher Emanuele Coccia, two key figures in their respective fields. Sassen contributes 80 new photographs that celebrate the natural world, and Coccia supplies an ambitious essay that reassesses the unity of all sentient life. Neither an illustration of text nor a commentary on a series of images, Modern Alchemy situates their two streams of creativity in a dialogue, forging a reverent meditation on art and nature. Gorgeously bound in printed cloth, this meditative photobook invites readers to reenvision the earth’s ever-present beauty.
Viviane Sassen (born 1972) is a Dutch photographer based in Amsterdam who works in both the fashion and fine art worlds. She has photographed campaigns for luxury brands such as Miu Miu, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton, and her work has been exhibited at Fotografiska, New York (2017); Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2017); and ICA, London (2015). She won the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography in 2011.
Emanuele Coccia (born 1976) is a philosopher of aesthetics, with a focus on the ontological status and normative power of images in fashion and advertising. He is an associate professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and visiting professor at Harvard. Coccia is the author of Metamorphoses (2021), The Life of Plants (2018) and Sensible Life (2016).
Photographs by Viviane Sassen
Text by Emanuele Coccia
7,8 × 10,2 inches
20 × 26 cm
Translated from French by Lucas Faugère
Graphic design: Agnès Dahan Studio
Publication date: July 2022
Co-production: JBE Books × Perrier-Jouët