After receiving Mateuszu Sarello’s photobook Swell, I was immediately struck by the many possibilities being offered up by his book’s ingenious and well executed design that metaphorically works with Sarello’s photographic. This has resulted in a beautifully conceived and photographed book.
Very simply, his is a story in two parts. First is a past event, a visit to the Baltic Sea with a lover and a relationship lost. That in turn has led to the circumstances for the second situation, a revisit to the same sea as a personal therapeutic journey. And correspondingly, the book has two distinct parts, incorporating the two bodies of work in two unique page blocks. Each page block is attached via the end papers to a book cover panel.
The two interior page blocks have exposed spines that infer rawness to the book and to his story; that Sarello is leaving himself likewise emotionally exposed to the reader. That the spines are left unfinished implies that this is a story still in the making, that relationships can be incomplete and there is more yet to come. That the page blocks are attached to the cover panels by a single sheet of the end paper hints at the underlying fragility of his story and that this book, hence the story, should be handled with care.
The book has an amble spine that allows it to lay flat and visually separate the two page blocks. It is easy for the reader to quickly comprehend that there are two distinct segments to his narrative.
The velum page that is bound to the top of the second block is a subtle touch, connoting a separation, while providing a veiled glimpse at what is to follow. It reads as a soft transition, not an abrupt change and hinting at a continuation, yet letting the reader know that something has change and is now in some way different.
The hardcover book has embossed covers and spine (subtle text to read on the black linen cover), with the text in English (produced in Warsaw, Poland) and book design by Ania Nalecka. The text is provided by Kuba Rubaj and from the diary of Mateusz Sarello.