This stunning photo book is the result of an extraordinary visual mind

Out of
From Cue the Sun edited by Stanley Barker. The photos in the book were taken from the windows of moving buses during a tour of India. (Trent Parke/Magnum photos)

Photographer Trent Parke’s book Cue the Sun (Stanley Barker, 2022) is a gorgeous document. Unfortunately it is also out of stock. That is amazing. It was only released two months ago.

I’m not sure when it was out of stock, but it’s not really surprising. Cue the Sun is both a work of art in its own right and a book of photographs. Parke has a pretty hungry following (his book Dream/Life, which is also out of print, sells for $1,500) and this book is gorgeous and unique.

Here is the publisher’s description of Parke’s book:

“Set up like a one-of-a-kind giant double-printed accordion, this highly-anticipated artist book takes you on a fantastical journey through the kinetic Indian night to a breathtaking dawn.”

Parke took the pictures just a week before the coronavirus pandemic hit while traveling through parts of India. He accompanied cricket legend Steve Waugh as he traveled across the country to put together his own photo book.

There are photographers, other artists, and even athletes who spend so much time honing their discipline that it becomes more or less automatic. You can think of it as muscle memory or “being in the zone”. Parke is no exception to the rule, and this book proves it.

The photos in Cue the Sun were all taken from behind the windows of buses as Parke and Waugh traveled between Agra, Amritsar, Delhi, Dharamshala, Meerut and Mathura.

The images don’t have much depth, at least not in socio-political terms. They are mostly surface studies – side glances made by an extraordinary visual mind. Although Parke was a rather passive player, sitting on a bus and peering out as it rolled past the scenery, his mind (muscle memory) filtered everything through his considerable visual sensitivity.

I would even go so far as to say that it almost doesn’t matter where the photos were taken. There is no overt social or political message. I don’t think most of Parke’s work is really about describing the outside of things. Instead, Parke’s work is more about the interior, imagination, ideas and feelings.

About working on Cue the Sun, Parke says:

“I always felt that I could have been in any number of other countries at any given time. Through the windows I felt the past and future colliding. The contradiction, the beauty, the chaos and the hope. Mankind on the move.”

It’s as if this book, itself a work of art with its beautiful production and seemingly endless accordion pages, is Parke reaching into the cacophony of life, plucking out memorable scenes and then stitching them all together for us. The genius of the book isn’t in the individual photos, but in how those photos are put together—the sum of the parts.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that I’ve been a fan of Parke’s work for a very long time – from first encountering his dreamy black-and-white work in Dream /Life to his epic reporting about the journey through the vastness of Australia in “Minutes to Midnight”. His work has always inspired me.

Cue the Sun is not unlike a deluxe vinyl version of your favorite album. It’s absolutely and utterly gorgeous.

Only a few copies of “Cue the Sun” are available and they are now selling for more than the original retail price. But if you can find one and can afford to take the plunge, it’s worth it.

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