Bringing photography together with other arts or sciences can produce magnificent results. So, what happens when you bring together photography and math? Michael Goldrei decided to try it out and he ended up with a unique photo book shaped like a Möbius strip, a one-sided mathematical surface. You can start reading it from any point you like and end anywhere you like, and it looks very trippy.
Michael writes that a short story by Robin Sloan inspired him for this project. He received it in the post and the postage label read “One-page work of fiction.” So, it made him wonder: “how a one-SIDED book could work?”
Being a son of a mathematician, Michael was familiar with the Möbius strip. This shape is very unusual, but in spite of that, it’s very simple to make. So, Michael printed some of his photos taken in Cuba in 2017, showing weird and wonderful car hood ornaments he saw during his visit. He lined them in color order into a long strip, which he then turned into the Möbius strip. You can see what it looks like in the video above, and as you can see – this shape allows you to start and stop at any point you like.
It’s interesting to see a book that’s shaped this way. It made me think about what it would look like to write a story and shape it like this. Michael thought about it too. He writes that, if this was fiction, “the end of the story would have to lead perfectly back to the start, with a plot that made sense in an infinite loop (and preferably could be started at any point).” He adds that it was “slightly easier to do as a photo book.” But I still think it looks pretty awesome.