This is not a conventional photo-book, both in the sense of its content and its physical appearance. The book consists of 55 full-bleed, unbound plates, printed on a relatively thick board. Plates are stacked together in the gray cardboard folder and accompanied by a relatively short but fascinating pamphlet by the author, printed on a separate piece of paper.
Boris Mikhailov creates his unusual and striking surrealistic prints by making transparency "sandwiches" of multiple 35mm color slides. Of course, this technique of creating composites has been used before, but recently almost forgotten with the advance of digital darkroom techniques. However, obvious limitations of the simple slide sandwich technique appear to be its strength, in the hands of the master. Paradoxically enough, almost infinite possibilities of image compositing with Photoshop lead to flood of works of limited integrity and limited imagination. But, the fact that in this case artist's only tool was shooting slides on film and subsequent selection and pairing of slides in a sandwich, led to some amazing images, which in the true surrealistic spirit appear to be spontaneous discoveries rather than premeditated constructs.
You may be disappointed at first by how unassuming and humble this book looks and feels. Color plates are matte and have this yellowish cast reminiscent of old color transparency films. But, this look is true to the spirit and content of this work. Although this is definitely not a documentary work, images bring the visual flavor and color of life in a past era in USSR, behind the Iron Curtain (1960-1970). To be an avant-garde artist in these times and circumstances required huge sacrifices and the love for art easily assumed the drama of epic proportions, as described in the accompanying pamphlet in the story of artist's friend who literally died from his passion for photography.
This idiosyncratic and highly original piece of photographic work may not impress each and everyone. But its artistic integrity, humbleness and honesty make it comfortably deserve the highest mark. Unusually fresh "yesterday's sandwich" indeed.