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TAKING AuNZ PHOTOBOOKS TO THE WORLD – The Vienna Photo Book Festival

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The MomentoPro AuNZ Photobooks of the Year @ VPBF

 

In the Antipodes we think we are far away from the centre of activities in so many areas of human endeavour that we just get on with it – doing it our own way. The field of photobooks is one such area.

Recently I had an opportunity to take photobooks from our part of the world to Europe and present a ‘show ‘n’ tell’ at the Vienna Photo Book Festival in Austria. Before the event I was wondering how our books would be received – would they match the Euro photobook for production values, innovation and story-telling capability? I would soon have my answer…

I presented a lecture on Australian and New Zealand photobooks and spent two days with Victoria Cooper and Lachlan Blair on our book presentation table featuring the finalists and winners of the 2016 MomentoPro Australian and New Zealand Photobooks of the Year Awards (ANZPOTY).

The answer to the question I posed earlier would soon be answered.

In a series of 3 blog posts I will tell the story of three aspects of the Vienna Photo Book Festival (1) the lectures, book and print sales, (2) my lecture and (3) the Vienna Photo Book Reviews.

 

Read on: THERE ARE 3 BLOG POSTS WITH THE DETAILS … links below…

 

The LECTURE

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/the-antipodean-photobook-a-lecture-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The EVENT

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/aunz-photobooks-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The REVIEW SESSIONS 

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/review-panels-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

 

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THE ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOK – a lecture at the Vienna Photo Book Festival

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Doug Spowart presenting The Antipodean Photobook at Vienna Photo Book Festival

 

THE LECTURE: THE ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOK

My lecture brief was to make an hour-long presentation about the Australian and New Zealand photobook scene. After some thought I organised my lecture content around 4 distinct areas.

 

1. The supporting structures

The contemporary scene was to be included covering both practitioners and the major events in AuNZ that have shaped and contributed to the development of strong network and community of practice. The key events, movers and shakers such as:

  • Photobook Melbourne
  • Photobook New Zealand
  • Unless you will 2017 event and book reviews
  • Melbourne Artbook Fair
  • Sydney’s Volume Another Artbook Fair
  • Zinefairs
  • The Photobook of the Year Awards
  • Bookshops
  • Perimeter Editions
  • m.33
  • T&G
  • Rim Books
  • Remote Photobooks
  • Perimeter
  • Photobook Clubs
  • Asia Pacific Photobook Archive
  • Photobook collections

I commented also on the sources of critical discourse on photobooks in AuNZ.

The role of Libby Jeffery and Geoff Hunt of MomentoPro as patrons and supporters of all things photobook in Australia and New Zealand was acknowledged.

2. Photobook histories of Australia and New Zealand from first examples to 2000

Here are a few slides from the presentation…

 

I was able also to present a discussion on the challenge of commercial book production as against personal work using Wes Stacey as an exemplar.

I also spoke about the informal links that exist between the photobook and artists’ book disciplines.

3. The contemporary scene and a selection of interesting books and makers

Here are a few slides from the presentation…

 

4. Voices from the Antipodean scene

It was important for me that contributors to the photobook discipline in Australia and New Zealand be given an opportunity to provide their personal insights to my presentation.

I sought comments from a range of key contributors and received responses from Libby Jeffery, Daniel Boetker-Smith, Helen Frajman, Harvey Benge, Bruce Connew, Garry Trinh, Sam Harris, Ying Ang, Anith Totha, The 2018 Photo Book Wellington Committee.

Here are a few slides from the presentation…

 

My concluding comment was that AuNZ and the Asia-Pacific regions offer new and refreshing ideas of what a photobook could be and the stories of peoples outside of the usual Euro/Americano scene.

I invited all attendees to visit our table and view the Photobook of the Year finalists and winners and offered, as an additional incentive a copy of the Awards booklet.

My lecture was well attended by festival participants from different parts of Europe including Martin Parr, Photo historian Hans-Michael Koetzle and collectors with an interest in the AuNZ books.

After the lecture Martin Parr and I discussed AuNZ photobooks that he was aware of and commented that in my lecture he had seen many new books. Our conversation continued later that day and he, Gerry Badger, and probably most of those who attended the lecture came to our table to look at the books.

 

Martin Parr at the AuNZ photobook table PHOTO: Lachlan Blair

 

 

SEE ALSO

The EVENT

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/aunz-photobooks-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The REVIEW SESSIONS 

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/review-panels-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

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AuNZ PHOTOBOOKS @ The Vienna Photo Book Festival

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The exhibition at Brotfabrik Wien

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THE FESTIVAL: LECTURES, ACTIVITIES, OLD+NEW BOOKS & PRINT SALES

(from the ViennaPhotoBookFestival website)

The Artistic Directors, Regina Maria Anzenberger of Anzenberger Gallery and Michael Kollmann of OstLicht Gallery state that:

The ViennaPhotoBookFestival is celebrating its 5th anniversary on the 10th and 11th of June 2017 and to celebrate the medium of the photobook accordingly we have set up an exciting program. In addition to prominent guests like the Magnum legend Bruce Davidson and the creator of The Photobook: A History and Magnum photographer Martin Parr, we are expecting the photo critics Gerry Badger and Hans-Michael Koetzle, the Russian photographer Nikolay Bakharev, archipelago founder Magali Avezou, the chief curator of the Italian center for photography Camera Francesco Zanot, the Danish photographer Krass Clement and the Swiss photographer Rene Groebli, who is celebrating his 90th birthday this year.

Also in 2017 we are following the vision of a modern platform that helps to create networks between publishers, rare photobook dealers, independent publishers, artists and students. In addition, the festival’s international lectures will attract photobook aficionados from all over the world making Vienna a photobook metropolis once again.

 

The AuNZ Photobook of the Year set of books

Early Saturday morning along with 100 other table holders we unpacked and set-up our display. Around us other table holders offered everything from prints to booksellers of new and antiquarian books, student groups and educational institutions from all over Europe. There were special activities including a 10×8 Polaroid portrait and wet plate photography studios.

Our ANZ PBOTY display was positioned next to our Austrian/expat Australian friend Lachlan Blair’s table. Although he had paid for his table to show his beautiful photogram works and prints, Lachlan also shared the table minding duties with us. With his support we all were able to attend lecture events and also checkout other VPBF tables.

The exhibition space with the AuNZ table in the foreground

Lachlan Blair’s photogram print display

The history of the photobook was represented by significant collections and booksellers – I held a copy of Roy DeCarava’s Sweet flypaper of life… Lazlo Moholy-Nagy’s essay in Telehor from 1936 – books by Blossfeldt, Brandt, Van Elsen, Klaus Clement. I held back – a limited budget, though my new friend from Russia Natalia had an amazing handmade book by Julia Borissova that I had to buy, other books were bought and some were swapped – one of these was Surveillance by Valentyn Odnoviun which featured the circular observation peep-holes from Gestapo, STASI and KGB prisons – a most chilling yet remarkable book, this work was inspired by his father’s incarceration for 3 years on false charges.

Classic photobooks

Valentyn Odnoviun with his book ‘Surveillance’

Martin Parr was interviewed by Verena Kaspar-Eisert at the opening event – the room was full. Parr was the complete mischievous interviewee as Verena teased out some interesting facts and comments from this ‘Photobook Rock Star’.

Martin Parr being interviewed by Verena Kaspar-Eisert

Sunday continued the frantic pace – lectures, including one by Bruce Davidson, another by Nikolay Bakharev and Klaus Clement interviewed by Gerry Badger.

Krass Clement being interviewed by Gerry Badger

As the hours wore down there was a frantic activity to see other tables and catch up with as much as one could handle. MomentoPro had also sent along with the books around 30 of the little catalogues and these became gifts to selected viewers of our books… these included collectors, teachers serious photobook makers and others from the photo press and of course Anzenberger, Badger and Parr.

We received many statements from viewers complimenting the quality of our books some even saying that the work was better than the general European scene. In response to people wanting to buy ANZ books we suggested direct connection with the photographers websites, bookshops and online stores in ANZ. One collector came to us on Sunday and excitedly exclaimed that he had been in contact with a NZ photographer and had bought the book…! Katrin Koenning+ Sarker Protick’s Astres Noirs APOTY winner could have been sold many time over as it’s 1st edition is ‘sold out’ and is now a rarity – luckily the Anzenberger Bookshop had copies of the 2nd edition.

Gerry Badger with Sonia Lenzi at the AuNZ table

Martin Parr at the AuNZ table

In the final minutes of the 2016 VPBF all table holders packed up their displays of books and prints leaving behind a vacant space that had once held so many books, their stories and those who make or care for them. We left the building, said our goodbyes, repacked suitcases with new books and a couple of hours later Lachlan took us to Vienna airport to catch our flight home.

Regina Maria Anzenberger and Doug Spowart

It’s now the middle of the plane flight somewhere over the Black Sea – about 1.35am. I’m still pumped and excited to have been able to have made this foray into the European photobook scene. I also want to acknowledge the support of Regina Marie Anzenberger and Michael Kollmann from Vienna Photobook Festival, Libby Jeffery and Rony Wilson of MomentoPro, Lachlan Blair and my partner Victoria Cooper,

For many people in the northern hemisphere Australia and New Zealand will be known not just as an interesting travel destination but rather a place where a dynamic photobook network of practitioners exists making great books….

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What follows is a selection of images from the event…

 

SEE ALSO:

 

The LECTURE

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/the-antipodean-photobook-a-lecture-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The REVIEW SESSIONS 

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/review-panels-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

ZINES IN MELBOURNE: Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier

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Town Hall foyer sign

Town Hall foyer sign

 

On Sunday 12 February the Melbourne Town Hall and was packed with sellers, lookers and buyers attending the Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair. At a guess, there could have been around 100 zine tables with a variety of zine-makers: both showing their own work, or representing other zinesters. For the visitor to the Fair there was an opportunity to see and handle almost any kind of communication that could put onto a sheet of paper, or into collated pages – folded, stapled, glued, stitched and sewn. Each ‘publication’ representing a personal approach to what the medium “zine” means to the author. And, as the ‘Zine’ is a slippery medium those within the discipline keep pushing the limits by integration of opportunistic technologies and ideas gleaned from contemporary media.

 

PHOTO: Doug Spowart - Stickies Festival of the photocopier zine fair 2017

PHOTO: Doug Spowart – Stickies Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair 2017

 

The content of the zines presented to us were from a broad church of visual and written media including: text as prose, poetry or as visual typographic forms, and calligraphy. There was a rich diversity of illustration from photo-realism to comic flat field work, photographs and even, in one sighted example – the ancient art of marbling. The narrative forms in these publications ranged from concrete poetry, prose, comic stories and disjointed stream of consciousness curated visuals.

In keeping with the tradition some zine makers aired their political opinions while others shared a fascination of contemporary everyday life. There were groups that concentrated on gender issues, music and issues of the street, while others presented dreamy naive and whimsical scenarios, adventures in suburbia, the road and outer space, nonsensical ghoulish and vampire episodes.

Our specific interest were zines based on or utilising photos sometimes referred to as photozines, as well as others that use photomontage in their narrative or conceptual work. Examples seen dealt with topics like the destruction of traditional family homes in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, skateboard stories, and a faux streetscape made up of photos of distressed buildings.

The Fair was a place to network. Greetings were made with like-minded people across the display tables and discussions took place about zines, life and art. We caught up with a few people we knew – David Dellafiora, Gracia and Louise and Glen Smith – Queensland’s zine hero Jeremy Staples was in the building somewhere but we didn’t get to meet. Zine-makers, or sellers, were keen to engage with us to tell the story of the work and where it fits with their practice and their life.

But did anyone sell anything? Many visitors were seen toting quite a few brown envelopes and calico bags filled with new additions to their personal collections. Perhaps a personal experience might shed some light on how success for such an event could be measured. It was right at the end of our shop, we had spent our budget and were talking to two young zinesters who were actually making their little photo zines on demand at their table. Their selling price was $3 and we wanted one of each but could only scrape together $5 in coin. One of the zinesters said ‘that’s fine, I’ll take the $2’, and stated that, ‘it’s important to have my zine out there…’

Being out there with your work. That is what zines are all about … your message in print as a democratic multiple … telling your story, was always what zines were about. That tradition it seems, continues…

 

Doug Spowart

February 13, 2017

 

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SOME ZINES ADDED TO OUR COLLECTION

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Trudi Treble at the Fair

Trudi Treble at the Fair

Trudi Treble: united states of america – october 2017 – november 2017, my diary.

Trudi Treble: united states of america – october 2017 – november 2017, my diary. #6/25.

Trudi Treble  Instagram: trud.i

 

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Johanna Ng at the Fair

Johanna Ng at the Fair

 

Johanna Ng: carlingford twitter poetry

Johanna Ng: carlingford twitter poetry

 

 

 

Glen Smith at the Fair

Glen Smith at the Fair

 

Glen Smith: Constructed Landscape

Glen Smith: Constructed Landscape

Glen Smith: https://nofrillsart.net/

 

 

Gracia and Louise

Gracia and Louise

Gracia Haby: Under the water with a two-colour eye-glass, something similar (2014) #49/100

Gracia Haby: Under the water with a two-colour eye-glass, something similar (2014) #49/100

Gracia and Louise: www.gracialouise.com

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martinpf: At least we’re not your kids – a photozine. #81/100. Published by Russian Glue Press

martinpf: At least we’re not your kids – a photozine. #81/100. Published by Russian Glue Press

martinpf@hotmail.co.ukRussiangluepress@gmail.com

 

 

David Dellafiora Field Studies

David Dellafiora Field Studies

Field Study (David Dellafiora): Wipe No.88

Field Study (David Dellafiora): Wipe No.88

Field Study – https://daviddellafiora.blogspot.com.au/

 

 

Alice Fennessy at her table

Alice Fennessy at her table

Alice Fennessy: Blood Vessels – A collection of poems about me memories

Alice Fennessy: Blood Vessels – A collection of poems about me memories

Alice Fennessy Instagram: @alicefennessy

 

 

Claire Wakeford and her zine

Claire Wakeford and her zine

Claire Wakeford: Untitled

Claire Wakeford: Untitled

Claire Wakeford: www.clairewakeford.com

 

 

Ning Xue: An Urban Village

Ning Xue: An Urban Village

 

Ning Xue: http://www.xuening.me/me.html

 

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UNTIL NEXT YEAR …

 

PHOTO: Doug Spowart - Sticky Institute's Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair 2017

PHOTO: Doug Spowart – Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair 2017

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Copyright in the zines is retained  by the authors. All photographs + text + video ©2017 Doug Spowart

 

 

 

 

 

A GIFT OF A CAMERA: David Tickell’s cameras

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Advertising stuff from the 1960s for David's cameras

Advertising stuff from the 1960s for David’s cameras

 

In March 2013 I was contacted by David Tickell who wanted to meet with me to talk about a proposition he had in mind. I had known David for many years – he had been a writer and critic for the local press and had written the text for a book by my photographer friend John Elliott. In the early 2000s David had enrolled in photography studies at the college I taught at in Toowoomba. He was always an enthusiastic contributor to the classroom as he sought to learn and master digital photography. It became evident to me at the time that David had a considerable interest and capability in photography from his past career activities.

 

When David came by to visit he brought an aluminium case covered with the patina of travel and use. Inside the case were the things that David had wanted to talk with me about. We sat in our carport rainforest and talked about what we’ve both been up to and changes in our lives. David spoke about downsizing his life’s goods and chattels and introduced the aluminium case’s treasures to me… a Rollei twin lens reflex with a range of filters and accessories, an Exakta 35mm SLR – all neatly packed with manuals and other ephemera. It was all in immaculate condition. He told me that he had purchased it in the Middle East at a time in his journalism career that needed quality photographs.

 

With David Tickell on the day of his gift to me in 2013

With David Tickell on the day of his gift to me in 2013

His dilemma now was that with digital photography he had no need for the equipment and he wanted to pass it on to someone who would appreciate it and perhaps even use it – he proposed that I was that person. I appreciated his gesture and felt honoured by his offer. I mentioned that Vicky and I had a Rollei in our possession and that we would look after the gear and pass it on to an individual, perhaps a student, who we considered would value this equipment and use it to extend their analogue photography work. We made photographs of our meeting with the cameras and David left feeling excited that his gift was well received and would be looked after.

For some time I’ve been looking out for a suitable person to receive David’s gear. Quite a few years ago I’d come across a Brisbane band webpage called ‘Something from the scene’, and a little while later I had a student who was interested in contemporary band photography who had found the same site as an inspiration. In June 2015 we met Thomas Oliver at the Siganto Artists Book Forum in Brisbane. He was the guy from ‘Something from the scene’. We both connected with Thomas who we found out was a Queensland College of Art Bachelor of Photography student. Our paths have crossed many times since including his involvement in exhibitions and projects I’ve curated include a Skype artist’s talk that he participated in at Maud Gallery in March for the In situ documentary show.

Recently Thomas has completed his Bachelor of Photography and was the winner of the John Mckay Award for the student going into honours, and a Saint Margaret School’s internship award. He is continuing his studies with an Honours year at QCA. I was particularly interested in Thomas’ engagement with analogue photography. Extensive project work while on study tour to Europe, the UK and Canada was shown at Maud in the ‘In situ’ show and his graduating BP work featured an involvement in the variants and deviations possible from the printing of the singular black and white film negative.

 

PHOTO: Thomas Oliver from his 'Disconnection' series

PHOTO: Thomas Oliver from his ‘Disconnection’ series

PHOTO: Thomas Oliver from his 'Disconnection' series

PHOTO: Thomas Oliver from his ‘Disconnection’ series

Thomas Oliver giving his floortalk by Skype

Thomas Oliver giving his ‘In Situ’ floortalk by Skype from Canada

Thomas talking about his work at the Maud Gallery 'Dark Love' event in November 2016

Thomas talking about his work at the Maud Gallery ‘Dark Love’ event in November 2016

 

For his enthusiasm for photography and his dedication to analogue photography I chose to pass on David’s gear to Thomas. We met at Maud Gallery at the end of November and the exchange made. He was excited to be the recipient of David’s equipment legacy and excitedly talked about how the gear could be used in his future photographic research work.

 

Thomas Oliver and me

Thomas Oliver and me

 

David’s equipment has found a new life with Thomas and as long as he has a need and a interest it will reside with him – until he wishes to pass it on to a new custodian…

Thomas Oliver with David's gear

Thomas Oliver with David’s gear

 

Words about David Tickell from John Elliot’s photographic documentary book The Last Show published in 1986. The book was about the last Toowoomba Agricultural Show held on the inner-city site bordering Bridge, Campbell and Lindsay Streets. Elliott’s photographs were complimented by a text telling the story of the show written by David.

From John Elliott's book 'The Last Show' 1986

From John Elliott’s book The Last Show 1986

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Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 17, 2016 at 1:47 pm

STUDIO WEST END: REPRISE

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Adele Outtridge

Adele Outtridge photographed in the new Studio by Doug Spowart

Wim de vos

Wim de Vos photographed in the new Studio by Doug Spowart

 

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…

 

Helen Cole opens the Studio West End artists book show Photo: Doug Spowart

Helen Cole opens the Studio West End artists book show Photo: Doug Spowart

 

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

However the creeping menace of gentrification and the scourge of massive high rise development meant that earlier this year they had to pack up and leave their premises in the ABSOE building.

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…

 

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Invitation to the Farewell Party

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The farewell Absoe Building wake…

 

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Moving out of West End

 

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…

 

The NEW Studio West End

The NEW Studio West End

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In the new Studio West End

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ALL photographs and text ©2016 Doug Spowart

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Written by Cooper+Spowart

November 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm

ANA PAULA ESTRADA’s new book “MEMORANDUM”

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Brisbane City skyline

Brisbane City skyline

 

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.

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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.

Page opening – Memorandum

Page openings – Memorandum

 

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….

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY

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.

Doug Spowart

[i] Berger, John. Keeping a Rendezvous [in English]. Granta in association with Penguin, 1992.

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Memorandum‘s book specifications and price:
  • 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.

http://anapaulaphotography.com.au/

 

 

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.

 

Doug Spowart

October 31, 2016

 

 

PHOTOS OF THE BOOK LAUNCH

AVID READER IN WEST END BRISBANE

Louis Lim bought a book

Louis Lim bought a book

Annette Green and Ana Paula

Annette Green and Ana Paula

Looking at the book

Looking at the book

Doug Spowart reading his essay from the book

Doug Spowart reading his essay from the book

Ana Paula and husband Guille

Ana Paula and husband Guille

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