Ivars Gravlejs: Necessary Book of Wrongs

“I imagine paging through two books. I imagine myself considering the images within as a book of wrongs. I then do the same for the book of rights.”


The savior of technological disgrace is error and possibly humor. Images, the conditioning of images and the condition of what is right and what is wrong is an interesting proposition. The dictatorial mode of accepted economy of correctness versus the failure to have a discourse in serendipity is something worthwhile. Who dictates the reason of rights and who is the loser or the proponent of wrongs? In so many ways, the discussion seems to be some abstracted possible discussion within philosophical codes of morals and ethics. I have written on Vilem Flusser’s position that the camera controls the operator for which I have taken some disposition towards argument. My contention is that Flusser had forgotten error in his programming.

In paging through the pages of Ivar Gravlejs’ “Useful Advice for Photographers” on Dienacht Publishing, I am reminded that my own condition is a condition that finds interest in imagery that is deemed “error-ridden” or wrong. I imagine paging through two books. I imagine myself considering the images within as a book of wrongs. I then do the same for the book of rights. In both modes, separated, it becomes apparent that there are fewer questions to consider with the “right” images. I feel that the “right” is a dictatorial mode of image distribution, perhaps not so far un-aligned towards washes of political thought. It is when I review the “wrongs” that I see the possibilities open up. I feel less inclined towards being controlled.

“The savior of technological disgrace is error and possibly humor.”



The book is clever. It is meant as a joking mode of photography. Its small, it comes with a clip that should be worn on the photographer’s body when out in the field. It reminds me of a backstage music pass. It has some precedents, notably John Baldessari’ well known “Wrong” from 1967. In a way, I do question whether Gravlejs was aware of the work before or if it matters. Second to Baldessari, there is also the incredible “Joy of Photography” by Piotr Uklański. Both cover the ground that Gravlej has submitted here. It does not suggest his work is redundant, though I am not sure it adds anything new if I am critical.

Gravlejs’ work prior exemplifies humor and a feeling of the marginal artist. I tend to champion this sort of aesthetic and this book is within his trajectory as an artist. I do look forward to his next move. I love the absurdity and it is nice to see Dienacht pick up a name that is reasonably well known in current photography. Calin from Dienacht tends to dig up work that I have not seen before for which I am grateful. I think as a publishing model that is a refreshing methodology. In selecting Gravlejs, he continues to work with an artist whose output is quite varied and still somewhat outside the mainstream, yet has afforded himself the possibility to publish a second book by an artist who is gaining some acclaim. It is a nice balance that I hope he pursues.


Ivars Gravlejs

“Useful Advice for Photographers”

Dienacht Publishing

(All Rights Reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Ivars Gravlejs.)

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