Archive for the ‘Artists Books’ Category
Recently in Auckland and Melbourne two groups of photobook aficionadas and aficionados assembled before 31 and 71 books respectively, and worked as a team to decide which of the books before them were exemplary of contemporary photobooks and, if consensus could prevail, which book – in each location, was the ‘best’ photobook.
The selection process is based on a ‘Judging Criteria’ that has been developed and enhanced over the many years of the awards which states that the judges will review each entry to assess the:
- excellence of the photography, design, layout, typography and cover art
- quality of the photo editing and sequencing to create an engaging visual narrative
- ability of any additional imagery, text or ephemera to enhance the story in the photographs and/or book
- appropriateness of the photography, design and format for the book’s intended purpose and audience
As the definition of a photobook remains broad, from photozines to trade coffee table books, a key consideration for the judging panel is to evaluate the ‘appropriateness’ of the book in the context of its ‘intended purpose and audience’. This aspect of the Criteria creates an opportunity for diverse products to be sensitively and fairly assessed.
The judging panel is purposefully selected to include experts in photography, design and book publishing. Each year these judges are changed to allow for representatives from different backgrounds, locations, gender, industry areas including design, publishing, media, cultural institution, academia, retail, art and commercial worlds.
Additionally judges weren’t allowed to score or advocate for books in which potential conflict of interest may cause problems. This is a particularly important issue as our photobook communities in Australia and New Zealand are small and connected.
The Photobook of the Year – 5 stage judging process:
Stage 1. A PDF of each book was forwarded to the judges in advance for them to gauge a preliminary impression of the book, its visual nature, content and narrative. Each judge completed a ‘first impression’ top 10 books spread sheet and provided feedback in the form of a comment and score for the books that they had selected.
Stage 2. The judges met and participated in some introductory discussions about the award and the processes that were to follow. After that the books were laid out on tables enabling the judges to encounter the physical and haptic experience of each book. Another ‘score sheet’ was provided so that judges could quantify their response to each book. While this review was basically carried out individually some casual discussion took place between judges. Many judges were to comment that seeing the ‘real’ book was surprisingly different from the impression that they had gained from the PDF screen view.
Stage 3. The judges score sheets were tallied resulting in a group of books being selected for round-table review and discussion. From this group activity the finalists were determined. In the AuPOTY 12 books were selected and in NzPOTY 10 made the finalist list. It should be noted that judge/s disclosed any involvement or potential conflict of interest with particular books or association that they may have with the author.
Stage 4. In this, the final stage, the judges debated the relative attributes of the books working towards a point where consensus over the ultimate winner could be determined as well as any books deserving of ‘Commended’ awards could be made. This stage of the process was interesting to participate in or to observe, as the many differing opinions of what constitutes the ‘contemporary photobook’ made for a lively and informative debate.
A consensus was to be achieved in both judgings and the results were:
Australian Photobook of the Year Winner:
Astres Noirs by Katrin Koenning & Sarker Protick, published by Chose Commune
Recipients of Commended awards were:
- Elsewhere by Fuad Osmancevic
- J.W. by Clare Steele
- Memorandum by Ana Paula Estrada
- Some Want Quietly by Drew Pettifer, Published by M.33
- Surface Phenomena by Bartolomeo Celestino, Published by Perimeter Editions
- Bird by Gary Heery
- Courts 02 by Ward Roberts & Editions
- Elemental by Rohan Hutchinson
- Golden Triangle by Hannah Nikkelson
- Kinglake by Jade Byrnes
- Two Pandanus Trees Side by Side by Aaron Claringbold
Page views, the judges and other book details of the AuPOTY can be seen HERE
New Zealand Photobook of the Year Joint Winners:
- Rannoch by Simon Devitt
- Touchy by Evangeline Davis
Recipients of Commended awards were:
- As the Road Bends by Blair Barclay
- Duplex City by Blair Kitchener
- Conversations With My Mother by Shelley Ashford
- R&S Satay Noodle House by Sally Young
- Soap and Water by Bronwyn McKenzie
- Someone’s Mana by Michael Krzanich
- The Shops by Peter Black
- Watching the fishes go by by Niki Boon
Page views, the judges and other book details of the NzPOTY can be seen HERE
The travelling exhibition of the POTY winners and finalists
STAGE 5. In each country visitors to the AuNzPOTY exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are invited to vote for their favourite book, and the winner receives $500 cash + $2,000 printing credit with Momento Pro. The winner will be announced via a Photobook of the Year Awards email later in the year. Subscribe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some personal observations and comments about the judging
As a witness to one of the judgings (AuPOTY), and a participant judge in the other (NzPOTY) I have reflected on the process and the salient issues, topics and well-discussed points and prepared this comment piece. I might add that these are based on my recollections of the proceedings as well as my personal thoughts gained from my involvement.
The universal definition of what is a photobook remains illusive. What judges think, what the entrants or others may think is a photobook may never be resolved. Although the perception of what a photobook might be does effect every aspect of the awards influencing who might enter and what their expectations of the award may be.
Also what is the nature of the selected finalists, and what book wins the awards, sends out a message to the broad range of people interested in photobooks to confirm or challenge their idea of what a photobook is.
Who made the book? Is it self-published? Or was it trade published? Was it a collaboration – did it involve a single photographer or multiple photographers with editor/s, publisher and designer/s? As all have a bearing on the book as a creative product or a commercial outcome.
What was the purpose for the book…? Is it for general consumers, niche markets or a personal record bound in book form?
Much discussion centred around concepts relating to design style, tricks of printing and binding, different papers, round fore edge corners, trendy layouts, typography, embellishments and packaging. Some books were considered derivative as certain features were part of last year’s trend or were recognised as being influenced by/taken/copied/borrowed from a recent well-known successful book. Therefore books with original concepts were held in higher esteem.
The question begs to be asked… at what point do any of these ‘derivative’ features become recognised as a visual style/form or narrative effect that contributes to the book communiqué?
The meaning and implications of collaboration.
Artist’s statements were often poorly written, or overtly academic ‘artspeak’.
One important consideration was that the book was as a total package where all of its components; concept, content, design, production values and binding were seen as creating a total creative entity.
Some common phrases from the judges were:
- Fabric of construction
- I wish I’d made that…
- If only I could have had those images to edit…
The Patrons for Australian and New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards are Libby Jeffery and Geoff Hunt of MomentoPro. They have funded prizes, coordinating the judging process: including judge selection, announcement events and exhibitions. Partners in the awards include Heidi Romano from Unless You Will, Photography Studies College Melbourne and in New Zealand f11 Online magazine. Over 6 years these awards have championed photobook publishing activity and discourse and as such created a record of contemporary photobook practice in the antipodes.
The Australian and New Zealand Photobook of the Year 2016 will tour nationally in 2017… Visit the Photobook of the Year website for details.
Dr Doug Spowart
TEXT: ©2017 Doug Spowart
PHOTOs: ©2017 Doug Spowart (unless indicated otherwise)
The awards were open to unpublished, self-published or trade published photo books by Australian citizens and residents. The Australian Photobook of the Year Awards celebrates excellence and innovation in photobook creation and also showcases the work of Australian photographers to a growing local and international audience.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WINNER
A group of around 70 photobook makers, collectors, commentators and others interested in the discipline attended a presentation of the finalist books and the announcement of the overall winner at Magic Johnston in Melbourne on February 17, 2017. Brief speeches were presented by UNLESS YOU WILL’s founder Heidi Romano and MomentoPro’s Libby Jeffery were followed by the announcement of Katrin Koenning & Sarker Protick’s Astres Noirs as the winner. The Commended awards were also announced and attendees were able to experience the finalist’s books first-hand.
THE WINNER: Astres Noirs by Katrin Koenning & Sarker Protick & Chose Commune
THE 2016 APOTY FINALISTS
- Astres Noirs by Katrin Koenning & Sarker Protick & Chose Commune Winner
- Elsewhere by Fuad Osmancevic Commended
- J.W. by Clare Steele Commended
- Memorandum by Ana Paula Estrada Commended
- Some Want Quietly by Drew Pettifer & M.33 Commended
- Surface Phenomena by Bartolomeo Celestino & Perimeter Editions Commended
- Bird by Gary Heery
- Courts 02 by Ward Roberts & Editions
- Elemental by Rohan Hutchinson
- Golden Triangle by Hannah Nikkelson
- Kinglake by Jade Byrnes
- Two Pandanus Trees Side by Side by Aaron Claringbold
A detailed report and images of the winner and commended books can be seen on the Australian Photobook of the Year Website – HERE
ALL photographs ©2017 Doug Spowart
IMAGINE – the inspiration for PHOTOGRAPHY on an Aegean Island
CONSIDER – exploring photodocumentary, cyanotypes and books
AND ENJOY – Greek food and wine, experience the blue of the Aegean Sea, Greek lifestyle and its mythical landscapes – All shared with fellow workshop participants with similar interests.
We plan to work with participants to capture the experience of ‘being there’ and to tell stories about ‘place’ in books and photographs.
The workshop topics will include:
- The cyanotype process to produce prints on paper and cloth to reference the Aegean blue
- Working with found objects and inkjet negatives from photos made on excursions
- Making bespoke photobooks that you will handcraft during the workshop
- Aspects of documentary ‘placemaking’
- Using online photobook making services to design books
- A sharing of our techniques to optimise and enhance digital photographs.
What is included in the fee:
- Tuition for 12 days
- 12 breakfasts
- Opening & closing dinners
- 2 lunches
- Morning tea – on the days we are in the studio
- Excursion days – transport included
- The odd drink on the terrace overlooking the Aegean
Workshop specific materials included:
- Cyanotype chemistry
- Some printing papers and cloth
- An allocation of inkjet negative material for photographic images
- Basic book-making materials: threads, needles, glue
- Air conditioned studio access
A detailed website: SKOPELOS WORKS ON PAPER
Contact Steph Bolt at email@example.com
ABOUT THE TUTORS
We have been involved in the arts as practitioners, teachers, critics, commentators and allied professional activities for many years: Doug Spowart, from the 1980s and Victoria Cooper, from 1990.
Our individual and collaborative book works have been acquired for the artists’ books, rare book and manuscript collections in Artspace Mackay, State Libraries of Queensland and Victoria, Mitchell Library (Doug), the National Library of Australia. Our wall based artworks are held in numerous public collections.
Our artists’ books have also been exhibited in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and are held by private and public collections in these countries.
We have both completed individual PhD studies based on philosophical and theoretical considerations in our practice. Since completing these studies we have continued our research activities and have each received separate Siganto Foundation Artists Book Research Fellowships in the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland: Doug in 2014 and Victoria in 2015.
Victoria Cooper PhD and has holds the following AIPP credentials –APP.L, M.Photog, Hon.FAIPP.
Doug Spowart PhD and has holds the following AIPP credentials – APP.L, M.Photog, Hon.FAIPP, FAIPP.
This workshop is recommended by the AIPP for its members for their Continuing Professional Development as a Third Party CPD Event.
I found Robert Frank’s Americans in my cornflakes packet today. Yesterday I found bits of Irving Penn’s Passage: a work record and Cartier Bresson’s Decisive Moments in my Epson inkjet paper box. And the black and red flecks in the Mercury Cider carton I’d just purchased from Dan Murphy’s where from Trent Parkes’ Dream Life and Robert Holden’s Photography in Colonial Australia: The Mechanical Eye and the Illustrated Book respectively. Whether we like it or not books are slowly and systematically being slipped off the shelves in public libraries and research libraries in institutions across the nation to end up as recycled pulp for new books and boxes and cartons as well as landfill.
In 2014 the University of Sydney Medical School was found to be secretly dumping books. A significant article on this and the institutional practice deaccessioning (dumping) books by Elizabeth Farrelly was published in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2014 entitled Library book dumping signals a new dark age. She wrote:
In May, Sydney University announced its library “restructure”. This magnificent library, among the country’s finest, had already, a decade earlier, deacquisitioned some 60,000 books and theses. More recently there were further, unquantified and undeclared cloak-and-dagger dumpings to make space for the wifi and lounge-chairs that have given the once magical Fisher stack the look and feel of a church playgroup.
I found it interesting to do a Google search of the terms <books dumped in skips dumpsters> and discovered more instances of the destruction of books. There were many articles about book dumping including one from 2005 in The Guardian reporting the University of London’s Octagon Library dumping stacks of books in skips outside the library. Left to the elements these books, some dating back to the 19th century, were in peril until students and staff rummaged through to salvage what they could. The article quotes author, publisher and campaigner for libraries Tim Coates as saying:
A library is a collection of books, it’s not a building. Throwing out books because you are having a refurbishment is like moving house but saying I won’t bother taking my family with me.
Progressively real books are disappearing fast from community and institutional libraries. If you talk to the librarians, who love the books that they are custodians of and are sworn to protect, these book dumpings are being directed by library managers who use include factors such as refurbishment and re-utilisation of library spaces as the need for their actions.
Aiding the downsizing process is the use of automated book culling software that analyses the user demand for books held by the library and prepares a deaccession list for books with low or no borrowing or patron access. For public lending libraries whose borrowing clientele may be towards popular fiction and children’s books other Dewey groupings may suffer. The use of this kind of software causes a whole range of books to be stripped from the selves and causes frustrations for librarians who want to maintain a broad range of subject matter. This can lead to desperate acts. Jason Ruiter of the Orlando Sentinel newspaper reported how staff at the East Lake County Library created a fake library patron in 2016 who then proceeded to check out 2,361 books over nine months. The ruse was reported and library staff were reprimanded or had their employment terminated.
The heart of the problem is that the knowledge economy is shifting from physical assets to the online presentation of virtual resources. In a somewhat charged conversation I had with a State Librarian around 18 months ago I was informed that the particular library had 1 million physical visitors over a year and 20 million online visits or ‘hits’. The Librarian continued by saying that they, in conjunction with a consortium of institutions with similar strategies, were directing funding to support the online user. What can be put online and be remotely searched and accessed is the focus of these institutions. My argument was that although page-turning software may make available remote viewing of the usual codex form of the book, books like artists’ books that have so many more features and physical attributes that could not be conveyed online. At best, I said, was that the online presentation of an artists’ book could only be like a travel postcard to an exotic place that could be used to encourage the virtual viewer to visit the real thing.
Very recently the effects of library downsizing have become very evident to me. For 20 years I nurtured an institutional special library collection relating to photography. Dutifully, with the support of my fellow staff members, we dispensed the yearly library budget by acquiring the best books that represented the industry and the art of photography. Despite having my own professional library I considered the institutional library as an extension of my bibliophile activities. Special books beyond my personal budget were able to added to the library and as a diligent seeker of discounted and remaindered books, I occasionally bought two copies of heavily discounted books – one of which I donated. At times, through professional networks and contacts when opportunities to get complimentary copies of books came available, I’d make sure that I’d score some for the library.
Now at this institution over the years I’d seen changes affecting the library and it’s space for books. Firstly, in a remodeling of the space high shelving were replaced by the OH&S friendly chest-high form – I thought, where did the surplus books go? Next was the encroachment of extra office space in the shelving area. Not for library staff but interestingly for IT support services. I thought, where did the surplus books go? Next computer bays and a classroom were added into the library space and the stacks shrunk further – where did the excess books go? Well I know where some of them went as just outside the library door resided a trolley for years that has a sign on it, ‘help yourself – please take away these books we no longer need’.
It has been 21/2 years since I left the institution and I recently visited my old teaching space to have lunch with my former co-teacher to reminisce over the old days and collect a few possessions left behind. While gathering together my things I encountered a 100 or so library books in one of the back rooms. My former co-teacher explained that the library was downsizing and that they were to be ‘disposed’ of, so she had asked them to give the books to her and she would distribute them. She said: ‘you can have some if you like’ – and I did. I selected a few books that were in the library’s initial set that seemed to me to be based around remainders from the early 1980s American photobook publishing era – books that are now difficult or really expensive to get. These I passed on to a friend who has been assembling a specialist photobook library. I did keep a few special things for myself: a 1980s copy of Frank’s The Americans; Les Levine’s early 1980’s Using the camera as a club … not necessarily a great one; a catalogue for Susan Purdy’s The shaking tree and Axel and Roslyn Poingant’s Mangrove Creek 1951: a day with the Hawkesbury River postman … and … and.
In a way I’m not surprised by the deaccessioning of ‘my’ teaching library as over the last 5 or so years of my teaching I found that students would not go to the library even when I’d suggest a particular text or texts that were related to their personal research. Always, when interviewing students about what they researched I would be presented with a bunch of URLs and low-res laser prints of screen dumps. Oh! How disappointed I would be when the physical manifestation of their interests, a book, was shelved in the library only a few minutes away. Ultimately I did embrace online research opportunities for students and helped to develop skills in that area that I’d honed in my PhD candidature a few years earlier.
Whatever I may feel about my personal experience, in the wider world of books and libraries, the practice of book dumping and shredding no doubt will continue and escalate. We need to protect access to books in public libraries and research collections and many public groups have emerged to challenge politicians and bureaucrats for their initiation of changes to libraries. One example is the group Citizens Defending Libraries that has an ongoing campaign against the Mayor and developers about changes to the New York Public Library service. In a currently running petition they make the following statement:
We demand that Mayor de Blasio, all responsible elected officials, rescue our libraries from the sales, shrinkage, defunding and elimination of books and librarians undertaken by the prior administration to benefit real estate developers, not the public. Selling irreplaceable public assets at a time of increased use and city wealth is unjust, shortsighted, and harmful to our prosperity. These plans that undermine democracy, decrease opportunity, and escalate economic and political inequality, should be rejected by those we have elected to pursue better, more equitable, policies
There may need to be a new term in the library lexicon to recognize these supporters of libraries – maybe we could call them bibliovigilantes.
Outside the public and the academic systems there is a more important role for those who collect and maintain personal specialist libraries. They may become the keepers of the knowledge. More importantly though, in this increasingly virtual world, they will know not only of the content of books, but the will also possess the experience of turning physical pages, the aroma of paper, ink and binder’s glue, and the power of the solidity and weight of the object we call a book.
Scarily, if we allow the unfettered disintegration of the library and the demise of the book, we may be creating a bookless world like that in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and the job title for those who deal with books will not be librarians but rather ‘book firemen’.
Written @ Wooli, December 2016
Australia’s largest open-entry exhibition and competition, CCP Salon, is now in its 24th year and our photobook “YOU ARE HERE…” is in the show.
Presented by Leica and Ilford, with support from Affinity, this annual event celebrates the latest developments in photomedia practice around the country, and provides an exciting opportunity to exhibit work in a professional, high-profile context. Supported by 21 national leaders in the photographic industry, CCP Salon awards up to $20,000 worth of prizes over 26 categories, and visitors are invited to vote for their favourite image in the Michaels People’s Choice Award.
JUDGES: Janina Green – Artist, Dylan Rainforth – Writer, Michelle Mountain – CCP Program Manager, Naomi Cass, CCP Director – Non-voting Chair. Winners of the different categories will be announced at the opening on November 24th. The exhibition continues until December 17.
“You are here” a collaborative artists’ book by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart
This book is inspired by many years of travelling through the Pilliga Scrub along the Newell Highway in central western NSW.
On this major highway there is another journey for the road traveller that can take them metaphorically into outer space. This tourist attraction is called the “Solar System Drive” and extends from Belatta to Dubbo. The planets placed on signs along the highway lead to the “sun” which is located in the centre of the array at Siding Springs Space Observatory in the Warrumbungle National Park.
You are here traverses the liminal space between these two journeys, playing with the philosophical questions of place, space and time.
Details of the book: Pigment inks on cotton rag inkjet paper, 14 x 20 x3cm – extends to 6.3metres.
Planning the narrative of “You are here…” earlier this year.
Adele Outteridge and Wim de Vos are like ‘family’ for many artists and creatives in Queensland, and I’m sure around Australia and beyond. Their Studio West End has provided a space for artists to access printing technologies, be supported by mentoring and teaching provided by Adele and Wim, and also connect through the social meeting place that the studio was.
Over the years both Vicky and I have connected with them in many different ways; as co-teachers in an art college, as collaborators on art projects, attending events that each other had organised, learning and sharing skills and, at times, just sitting around – as other do – talking about art and artists…
Adele and Wim have for many years operated their business Studio West End in the suburb of West End in Brisbane in an old soft drink and later and ice-cream factory. They made these places little palaces of art, inspiration and creativity. The workshop was often converted into an exhibition space and example of which would be the project launch of EX LIBRIS: WHO OWNS THIS BOOK
Vicky and I attended the last day party on the 23rd of April and I made some photographs of the state of the studio and its conversion into neat stacks of crates on pallets. What follows is a small selection of the ABSOE Studio West End wake…
On October 30 Adele and Wim re-opened STUDIO WEST END at a new location –
241F Station Rd, Yeerongpilly 4105. Come to Gate 4, YCP (Yeerongpilly Corporate Park)
A large opening party was held on Friday evening with the new consecration of the new studio being performed by artist and raconteur Janet de Boer OAM. Acquaintances and friends were invited to visit the studio over the weekend and we went along for lunch the next day. We wish them all the best for the Studio’s continued operation.
What follows is a documentation of the new space and its migration into a new space for art making, teaching and mentoring artists…
ALL photographs and text ©2016 Doug Spowart
Brisbane is not a place not known for its photobook makers… there’s not much happening. Occasionally a gem from Dane Beesley, a few college student publications made for assessment and, every now and again, artists’ books/photobooks from yours truly and Victoria Cooper. So it is an exciting time when a new book is made as a total production from concept to printing and binding in Brisbane. That book is by photographer and photobook self-publisher Ana Paula Estrada and is entitled Memorandum. The book was completed as a project associated with Estrada’s Siganto Foundation Creative Fellowship in the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland.
Memorandum is a conceptual bookwork and is concerned with concepts of aging and memory, remembrance and the recounting of stories. In this book Estrada presents evocative associations where the photograph infers a memory or moment re-called.
At a first glance Memorandum could seem to be just a book of straight portraits featuring old people. The are multiple images on successive pages occasionally interspersed with a range of other photos and ephemera. Each of the people pictured in this book have been interviewed by Estrada and shared with her stories of their lives. Fragments of their memories, exhumed from the depths of memory, or in some cases, from lost recesses of the mind caused by age-related memory impairment or varied stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Estrada’s portrait sequences present the subjects with subtle expression changes. Turning the pages of the book are like a conversation with the person – animated and suggesting a dialogue is taking place.
Facing pages are sometimes blank to create a punctuation or pause in the conversation. Sometimes images and other ephemera are on the verso pages. These act as windows to the conversation – they need no caption, they are physical evidence of existence, substantiating the memory. They act as memory maps placed before the reader as additional information. Many of these images have been sourced from the person in conversation. Other photographs have been sourced by Estrada from the archives of the State Library of Queensland to illustrate the memory relayed to her in conversation with the subject.
Memorandum has achieved the notice of the world-wide photobook community:
Harvey Benge comments on the book https://harveybenge.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/ana-paula-estrada-memorandum-new.html
The Royal Photographic Society’s curated photobook exhibition https://issuu.com/bjsdesign/docs/photobook_exhibition_2016_catalogue
Shortlisting for the Artspace Mackay Libris Artists’ Book Awards 2016-librisawards_illustratedlistofworks
Shortlisting for the Encontros da Imagem Festival (Braga, Portugal)
A review by Gabriela Cendoyo (in Spanish) can be seen HERE
The State Library of Queensland BLOG about the development of the book can be read HERE
The Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland and the National Library of Australia have both bought copies.
I was honored to have Ana Paula approach me to write an essay to accompany the book. My text is printed as a broadsheet page folded and inserted into a pocket in the book’s cover. My essay is as follows….
Sitting here, I’m trying to recall the earliest memories of my life as a child. In this process of reflection I attempt to delve back into my memory searching for images, thoughts, experiences and feelings. What I find are personal, unique and fragmented memories that seem to have the appearance of photographs.
As I remember more of my childhood, I wonder if there is another way of visualising memories? But what emerges again in my mind are stilled photographic moments in particular, one of a family group. These photo memories have no colours, just black and white and slightly sepia. Wide white borders surround each memory and the corners are slightly bumped showing the patina of being handled. It even seems plausible to me I could even turn the memory over, and there would be a caption there in someone’s handwriting.
How could I, at 3 years of age, have known the significance and the outcome of my father’s posed group – my brother, mother and me? Other aspects of the photograph, like how youthful my mother appears, or how my father was not yet bald, give me something to base what I think should be my memories of that time. Could it be that I remember the photograph and have forgotten the moment of its making?
Writer and critic John Berger claims that, ‘All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget.’[i] Does this mean that because we have photographs, we allow ourselves to forget? What I do know is when we want to remember – we look at photographs. And when it comes to remembering there are social rituals that help us do this. Every family, for example, at some time or another, gathers together and the musty pages of photo albums are turned, old yellowed Kodak print packets thumbed through and the slides are held up to the light with everyone squinting to see some glimmer of recognition in the tiny frame. We have seen the archived baby photos, the wedding couple, holidays and kids playing at the beach, the new house and the other treasures that vernacular photography presents as a personal record. Through this ritual we encounter the rich archive of our family and ancestor’s lives. These now become ‘conditioned memories’, whether real or fiction. When we next see these photos we will think we remember the moment of their making and not necessarily our moment of first encountering them.
This conceptual bookwork by Ana Paula Estrada is concerned with the human condition of memory. Perhaps more specifically this work deals with concepts of ageing and memory, remembrance and the recounting of stories. The work also comments on the interpretation of stories and the retelling of what could be referred to as meta-stories in the form of a book.
As the pages of Memorandum are turned – people will be met. There will be conversations through the sharing of photographs, documents and news-clippings of these people’s lives. Through the process of making this book, memories have been revisited, refreshed and retold anew. These stories are offered for reader’s contemplation, perhaps even for future remembering. Memoranda, such as these, may be about other people’s stories – but in many ways they may stir our memories and become part of our stories as well.
[i] Berger, John. Keeping a Rendezvous [in English]. Granta in association with Penguin, 1992.
- Black soft cover, Section Sewn (Exposed Spine), 21 cm x 15 cm Stock: Ecostar Uncoated It contains a small 8pp booklet, fold out pages and a tipped in 112gsm translucent page
- 170 pages and 86 photographs
- Selling price $80
Other details about the book:
Photographs & Text:
Ⓒ2016 Ana Paula Estrada
Subject´s personal photographs.
John Oxley Collection, State Library of Queensland.
Design & concept: Ana Paula Estrada
Essay: Dr. Doug Spowart
Artwork: Linda Carling
Colour management: Martin Barry
Printing: Allclear in Brisbane, Australia
Typefaces: Chronicle Display and Aparajita
Paper stock: 120gsm &140gsm Ecostar
First edition, 2016
Print run: 200
More information about the book and how to purchase a copy can be found on Ana Paula’s website.
Ana Paula Estrada’s Memorandum makes a significant contribution to the contemporary photobook genre in her ability to resolve the conceptualisation, capture – in photographs and recorded interview, the design and coordination of a complex concept into the simple form of of a book. And in doing so give us an opportunity to consider contemporary issues of our time through the photobook.
October 31, 2016
PHOTOS OF THE BOOK LAUNCH
AVID READER IN WEST END BRISBANE