Accidental art: Harry Pearce’s mesmerising book of travel photographs

Accidental art: Harry Pearce’s mesmerising book of travel photographs

Believing that the best things in life happen by accident could be seen as a relatively aimless way to live one’s life, but Harry Pearce proves a point with the enthralling images in his new monograph Eating with the Eyes. The tome features a haphazard world of photographs, taken spontaneously during his extensive travels.

Known initially as graphic designer and for his work at Pentagram, Pearce has been an avid photographer since his father gifted him a camera as a child. A world away from his visual wordplay book Conundrums, Eating with the Eyes sends the viewer to a more intimate place, channelling Pearce’s journeys to Italy, Havana, Beijing and beyond.

The results are mesmerising, Pearce manages to create accidental art from surprising forms like dirt, splashed paint and eroded forms. Sometimes dark and mysterious, Pearce gives these abandoned objects extraordinary attention and a story of their own.

The mystery in each image is short-lived, as the photographs are captioned with location details, placing them specifically within Pearce’s visual pilgrimage. The narrative is taken further still, as he often describes the situation surrounding the picture: ‘an exquisite pile of bricks from Beijing Hutong... they have the spirit of Lao Tzu imbued in them’, for example.

Pearce finds abstract patterns in drain covers and street lines in Hong Kong, and subtle beauties in corroded pipework and destroyed plaster in Puglia. Imbued with a calming, anecdotal sentiment, ‘this book is visual meditation’, he explains.

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