The PhotoBook Journal

August 31, 2018

Melissa Lazuka – Song of the Cicadas

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_cover

Song of the Cicadas, Melissa Lazuka, Copyright 2018

Artist: Melissa Lazuka (born Cleveland, OH, resides Chardon, Ohio)

Self-Published, Ohio

Without essays, pagination or captions

Text: English

Hardcover book, leporello binding, photographs & paper ephemera, hand-made, limited edition 1/1 in a series of 25, USA

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_top_view

Photobook concept & designer: Melissa Lazuka

Notes: I met Melissa Lazuka while reviewing her portfolio at the LACP (Los Angeles Center of Photography) EXPOSURES 2018 event last July during which we spent time with two of her artist books, Song of Cicadasand Fly Away, both of which I thought were brilliant. We mostly discussed the challenges of an artist book (1/1) and how to create multiple of the concept, which I have just written about in a previous article on TPBJ.

Lazuka has decided that her the path forward to create multiples of her artist book is to create a series of unique books (each 1/1), each individually unique but slightly different as to all of the found ephemera and materials that constitute her books. This artist books series is unified by the photographs she will included in each edition. I am very excited about her publishing strategy as it has in turn allowed me to acquire an edition for this artist book review.

Her artist book is a wonderful mashup of found objects and old ephemera that are layered with her own photographic prints. Bits and pieces of old books create the foundation to support her photographs, thus creating the back-story of past events, while foretelling of the future. Lazuka’s photographs appear almost mysterious, in and out of soft focus, that are grounded in current experiences while harkening ahead to future memories, as an indistinct recall of past events. She obtains her beautiful visual effects with a combination of technics; freelensing and the use of multiple exposures. Her black and white photographs remind me of the magical work of Keith Carter’s Fireflies and a monochromatic version of the recent photobooks by Cig Harvey, such as her Gardening at Night.

Lazuka has written a poignant passage that I would like to share as it sums up very elegantly her intent; These photographs of single, delicate and fragile moments of time, I collected just as we collected the beautiful see-through wings of the cicadas that summer of 2016. Like the cicadas that lived such a short time, these moments did too. They were beautiful and real, and then they were gone, only to be remembered in photographs, just as all we had left of the cicadas in the end. Each photograph in this series (Editor: artist book) is an individual moment, that was not a memory as it was taken, but became one in its afterlife. However, strung together, in this series, this is their “song”, like the cicadas, of those magical summer days.

It is safe to say that her narrative is not about these prolific cicadas bugs that strangely appear in mass every 17 years, or the sometimes-deafening noise they can create in the late evening. Lazuka as a parent and a mother of four is very aware of events that are not fathomable to a child; that a fleeting event that her child is experiencing now will not reoccur again for a considerable amount of time and when it does, that child will have grown to be a young adult. Her short narrative is about taking note of the present moment, perhaps event admonishing to be presentat all times, as today’s events will eventually create future memories.

As a physical object, her small petite artist book is roughly hone with ragged edges, uneven textures and a deckled top-edge on the heavy paper that creates the backbone of this leporello book design. Truly a visual diamond in the rough. There is nothing neat and tidy about this artist book, but conversely it is a bit of a mess, perhaps even purposely crude, with hints of fragility such that it seems as though it might suddenly fall apart, thus a wonderful metaphor for life itself. Highly recommended.

Cheers, Doug

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_1

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_2

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_3

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_4

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_5

August 30, 2018

Artist books – challenge of multiples

Filed under: Artist Books, Photo Book Discussions — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 1:44 pm

Melissa_Lazuka-Song_of_the_Cicadas_cover

Melissa Lazuka, Song of the Cicadas, copyright 2018

One of the pleasures I derive from being a Portfolio Reviewer for various events is that my experience as Editor of this Journal attracts individuals who are either in the midst of creating a photobook or may have recently developed one. Such was the case recently when I was providing Portfolio Reviews for Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) CONNECT 2018 event this summer and I had the opportunity to spend time with Melissa Lazuka with her two recent artist books, Song of the Cicadas and Fly Away. (Note; I will be providing a full review of Song of the Cicadas).

Our discussion is prompting me to briefly write about some of the challenges of making multiples of unique hand-made artist books, versus printing a smaller number of traditional printed and bound photobooks.

Both of Lazuka’s hand-made artist books are very complex, layered and very unique (1 of 1) and our discussion was centered on the issue for artists who create very intriguing and visually complex artist books of how then expand that physical concept into a larger edition size. I shared my personal experience of creating a unique artist book (Pine Lake), and the challenges to expand on this to produce multiples of this concept and how this involved into a relatively fun scavenger hunt as I attempted to find all of the book parts to make a larger edition of 25.

For Lazuka, she had found some unique old book parts that she had deconstructed to create her artist books and the daunting challenge of how to either find more of the same, something similar, or re-create these book elements. As an example, I shared with her how I had found some ephemera for Pine Lake and resorted to recreate these elements for my book since I could not obtain multiple copies of these old items.

Another artist who has successfully found a way to create multiples of her artist books is the Russian book artist Julia Borissova. I have reviewed many of her very creative endeavors on TPBJ and I will shortly feature her latest, Let Me Fall Again. For this article, I asked Borissova to discuss her approach to transcend from a singular artist book idea to creating multiples of her concepts.

Julia_Borissova_Let_Me_Fall_Again_cover

Julia Borissova, Let Me Fall Again, copyright 2018

Borissova states; When I’m creating a unique book dummy, I’m thinking about all details. Sometimes I understand that the design of my book is to much complicated that I can realise it only by my hands, so I print the edition in the form of sheets in print office (commercial printer) and after that I make the rest work myself – cutting, binding and so on. 

But always the choice of materials (paper, carton) was very important for me, and always I tried to evolve my idea through color, weight, size of the book.  The construction of my book consists of various layers  which viewers are encouraged to interact with. My intent is to create the book in form of art-object as multiples to present them to viewers with no barriers or limitations, so that everyone can touch them freely and imagine the multiple possible forms that the book can offer. The main value of my work with books — is the contact with the viewer.

Another issue with artist books, even with an edition of 25, is that there are so few of these it makes it difficult to provide all of the requests from editors, publishers and bloggers to see and handle the physical object and still have some books to sell. Thus the limited number of books for promotion also limited the number of potential buyers who become aware of the books. Likewise, the limited number of the edition can also increase the relative cost of the book as the small size precludes a lot of commercial printing, binding and other supporting opportunities. Which is one of the reasons that I expanded the edition size of Bluewater Shore, my sequel to Pine Lake, to an edition of 99, plus A/Ps to have more books available for review copies, etc while concurrently reducing some of the complexity, such as eliminating the wooden box frame for the book and the extra ephemera.

Thus Borissova and Lazuka have taken two different paths for their artist book multiples. Borissova, whom I think is similar to my practice, is on the path to pre-visualize an artist book in the context of how multiples of the concept could be actualized. It seems for Borissova even that artistic journal is a creative endeavor as only the concept is determined before she develops her edition.

Meanwhile Lazuka has decided that for her multiples, these will be a series of unique (1 of 1) artist books that certain elements will be repeated, such as the inclusion of her photographs, that then will be layered on similar found book materials for her small edition series, such as the 25 she intends to create for Song of the Cicadas. Each of these artist books will be truly unique but repeating the design elements with similar materials will help her expand and extend her concept to a much larger audience.

Cheers

July 14, 2018

Cathy Immordino – Through The Looking Glass

Filed under: Artist Books, Book Reviews — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:52 am

Cathy_Immordino-Through_The_Looking_Glass_cover

Artist: Cathy Immordino (born Eden Prairie, MN & resides Los Angeles, CA)

Self-Published, USA, 2017

Text: English

Soft cover, hand printed & PVA binding, leporello design, cyanotype printing, Edition 20

Artist book concept & designer: Cathy Immordino

Notes: In Lewis Carol’s fantasy novel Through the Looking Glass, the reader embarks on a curious journey that takes them to strange and wondrous events, as if in the Twilight Zone, into a mysterious parallel world. Likewise Cathy Immordino taps into another mysterious experience with the design and layout of her complex and layered artist book of the same title.

She states “The book explores the different uses of lenses in a steampunk manner. From space helmets and ships to submarines, robotic birds and fish, lens growing trees, robots and interior design and more. “Through the Looking Glass” further explores the possibilities of lenses in another reality”.

As observed in the top view of her book below, the book can be experienced by folding, refolding and examining the contents from various perspectives. In the process one finds some mysterious and wonderfully hidden content. Similar to Carol’s narrative, Immordino invites the reader to take a “trip” to consider how one experiences reality and the many possible alternatives to view one’s life perspective.

That the book contains a submarine and to find out the book was Cyanotype printed in her basement (yes, there a few of these in Southern California) is a delightful autobiographical twist. This artist book is very high on creative entertainment value.

Cheers!

Cathy_Immordino-Through_The_Looking_Glass_top_view

Cathy_Immordino-Through_The_Looking_Glass_1

Cathy_Immordino-Through_The_Looking_Glass_2

Cathy_Immordino-Through_The_Looking_Glass_3

Cathy_Immordino-Through_The_Looking_Glass_4

June 9, 2018

Ellen Korth – Fabric of Time

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_cover_open

Artist: Ellen Korth (b. The Hague, Netherlands – resides Deventer (Netherlands) & Nordhorn (Germany)

Self-Published 2018 and developed in collaboration with Castle (Kasteel) Twickel (Netherlands) (see exhibition photo below), signed and numbered Edition of 50

Text: English

Poetry: Pablo Nerudo

Stiff cover, rolled, artist printed on 14-gram Japanese Awagami double-layered paper, and then bottom layer removed, Japanese binding by Fopma Wier/Wytze Fopma

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_cover

Photobook designer: -SYB- (Sybren Kuiper)

Notes: Family mysteries and family secrets, how does one investigate these and then subsequently report their findings? What if there is no collaboration; those who could speak to what occurred are no longer among us, then how does one know really with certainty what the “truth”, a slippery slope at best, might be?

Ellen Korth is continuing to investigate into what might be her family history. With this latest work, a layered translucent artist book, she provides a wonderful metaphor for memory while attempting to deal with her mother’s desire to keep her own past a secret.

Her subject are garments that are from a wardrobe collection at the Castle (Kasteel) Twickel, which are reminiscent of her mother’s under clothes that constitute very personal feminine items. It is by looking closely at these personal items similar to those her mother choose to spend much time in cleaning and preparing, Korth might find some understanding or make a connection with the secrets of her late mother’s past that she was reluctant to share.

Perhaps fitting that Korth is investigating undergarments in a quest to further understand here own mother, as these items are things that a woman would keep secret, as these are concealed under her clothing. Metaphorically clothing is a facade, meant to hide what resides underneath, while the undergarments create both exterior form as well as concealing the person’s full identity. A facade is a false front, projecting something that one might want others to think they know and with Korth’s own mother, not allowing others to know the true person who lurks within.

Likewise utilizing the thin translucent Japanese Awagami paper to print her book, Korth layers her subjects, allowing one to see thru the ghostly layers.  Nevertheless these layered pages, without providing a clear and sharp definition, are visually representing various attributes of a murky and unknown memory.

Other photobook by Ellen Korth featured on The PhotoBook Journal: CHARKOW 

Cheers

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_1

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_2

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_3

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_4

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_5

Ellen_Korth_Fabric_of_Time_exhibition

April 26, 2018

Pre-order: Douglas Stockdale – Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra

Middle_Ground_Book-dummy_4_cover

Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra (book dummy) 2018 Douglas Stockdale

As I just announced on my personal photo-blog Singular Images, I am very excited to accept pre-orders for my artist book Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra! Which is one of the reasons that I have not been providing book reviews for the past couple of weeks. The other wonderful reason for my absence is that the book publication will occur concurrent with the exhibition of this body of work at Fabrik Projects, a gallery located in Los Angeles (adjacent to Culver City), which opens May 5th and runs through June 2nd, 2018. The artist reception will be on Saturday, May 12th, so if you are on the left coast at that time, I hope you can join me from 6-8pm on the 12th.

Also, I was just notified by Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP), that two of the photographs from this project were selected for their third annual Fine Arts exhibition which will exhibit concurrently. This is a new experience for me!

This project investigates an urban landscape in a documentary style. Although this project was initially developed as a political satire to create a parody of “bigley” wall on the America”s southern border with Mexico, it has come to symbolically represent some issues that are more universal. This American landscape is a metaphor for political, economic, social, and cultural barriers and walls that people create to impede the progress and acceptance of others. If you are building or maintaining walls, you are not building bridges to acceptance. Aesthetically, this project has already been likened to a mash-up of Ed Ruscha’s “Every Building on the Sunset Strip” with Christo’s “Running Fence”.

The books will be ready to ship by the middle to end of next month. I am doing the leporello binding and it may take me a little while to complete each of the dozen connections required for these artist books.

So here are the artist book publication details:

Self-published, publication date; May 2018 (concurrent with exhibition at Fabrik Projects, Los Angeles, CA)

Stiff covers with flap-over French fold, Leporello book design

Pages: 66 pages (blank verso)

Photographs: 31 Images, color

Printing: 4 color lithographic printing

Leporello binding: hand-bound by the artist

Book design and layout by the artist

Artist book, edition size 99 + 5 A/P

Book trim size: 6-1/2” x 8-1/4” (165mm x 210mm)

Acknowledgements & Colophon, without essays, captions or pagination

Text: English and Spanish

Cover paper: 18 pt C1s Tango

Interior paper: 80# GPA Uncoated Text (Gloss)

Retail price: $59.50 USD (CA residents add sales tax)

I can process your book orders through Paypal. Until May 5th, for those in the United States, the price will include my shipping costs. For outside the U.S. I need to add an additional $15.00 to the cost of the book for shipping (if it turns out that it is more, I will absorb it).

Note: since the book will not been printed until next week, the book images are from my book-dummy.

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_top_view_leporello_design

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_1

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_2

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_3

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_4

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_5

Douglas_Stockdale_Middle_Ground-En_Medio_Tierra_6

January 25, 2018

Louie Palu – Front Towards Enemy

Louie_Palu-Front_Towards_Enemy_outside_cover

Louie_Palu-Front_Towards_Enemy_covers

Photographer: Louie Palu (born Toronto, Canada & resides Washington DC)

Published by Yoffy Press: Atlanta, GA (USA) copyright 2017

Essay by Rebecca Senf and Louie Palu

Text: English

Stiff cover Zine with metal saddle stitch binding, Cards, Leporello (Accordion), soft cover Newspaper, folded without binding, exhibition insert, housed in printed chip-board folder with cover flap, four-color lithography, printed in Turkey

Photobook designer: Jordan Swartz

Notes: War. I don’t understand it and fortunately I have not had to experience it, although I live on an old WW2 bombing range, that’s another story. Louie Palu in his new multi-media publication (can we really call this a photobook?) Front Towards Enemy provides a version of a photo-documentary that resulted from a self-assignment investigation of the war conflict in Afghanistan. This is a very complex region; socially, economically, politically and environmentally that Palu has tried to emulate with an equally complex and layered print concept.

His multi-media conceptual photobook immediately reminded me of Alejandro Cartagena’s 2015 self-published Before the War, which in retrospect, I have found so complex at the time as to be visually overwhelming. There are similar aspects about Palu’s publication as well.

Palu’s photobook has four major components and then each of these break down or expand from there. Part newspaper, The Void of War, part zine, The Fighting Season, part leporello, part a pack of picture cards and finally an insert that suggests how to assemble of this into a exhibition. Wow.

Rebecca Senf in her assay discusses the parallels between Palu and W. Eugene Smith as to how Smith after his tiff with Life magazine about his Albert Schweitzer photo essay left the magazine and went independent. As Palu was self-assigned for his Afghanistan project, likewise he did not have to conform to the norms of a picture editor, but completed his project on his own aesthetic terms. We do not always see his subject but are provided indirect evidence of his subject’s presence; a cast shadow, an out of focus form, heads bowed, truncated feet, legs and arms. A photo-documentary that attempts to connect with the heart.

Newspaper; The Void of War; interior pages with images that are an impressive 8-1/2” h x 21-1/2” w; the ultrawide format of the camera lens creates a distorted visualization that echos the frequently un-nerving human situations that are in a state of progress. The photographic quality of the newsprint has low contrast with muddled blacks, typical of an area of newspapers and harken back to newspaper coverage of the Vietnam War era.

Zine; The Fighting Season, saddle stitch binding, with the essays by Rebecca Senf and Louie Palu and includes the book’s colophon. A mix of the trauma of warfare with the background of the human element, the children and adults with their animals who try to survive in the region amidst the war.

Leporello (Accordion); 14 continuous panels, printed full bleed that when unfolded extends 13 feet, with the photographs on one side and the caption printed on the reverse. The physical manipulation of the leporello to look at the images and then read the corresponding caption is awkward and not meant to be an easy act. The last image (or depending on how you fold the leporello, the first image) of a seriously wounded Afghan solider in a Medevac helicopter’s blue light is incredibly haunting.

Cards, individual prints, which are printed full bleed, 11”h x 7-1/2”w, on heavy card stock. Captions are provided on the reverse side. These are tightly cropped portraits of his subjects who are soldiers that are engaged in the war in Afghanistan.  I find their eyes and gaze visually riveting.

Single page insert: Instructions and suggestions on how to create one version of an exhibition with this publication.

As one moves from one part of the publication to another, there is a feeling of messiness, an interesting feeling, perhaps a simulation of the awkward and strained social and environmental conditions that Palu is encountering. Another dimension of this body of work.

Palu has stated that although he has experienced some aspect of war, his photographs cannot provide the reader with the full experience of what this is. Similarly, this review is an attempt to describe a complex publication, but cannot provide the reader with the full experience. Highly recommended you obtain your own copy.

Other books published by Louie Palu that have been reviewed on TPBJ: Cage Call

Cheers!

Louie_Palu-The_Void_of_War_newspaper_cover

Louie_Palu-The_Void_of_War_newspaper_1

Louie_Palu-The_Fighting_Season_zine_cover

Louie_Palu-The_Fighting_Season_1

Louie_Palu-The_Fighting_Season_2

Leoperello_1

Leoperello_2

Leoperello_3

Card_1

Card_2

Louie_Palu-Front_Towards_Enemy_exhibition

November 3, 2017

Douglas Stockdale – Guide to Self-Publishing an Indie Artist Book

00-guide douglas stockdale.jpg

Author and Principal Photographer:  Douglas Stockdale (born Butler, PA; resides Rancho Santa Margarita, CA)

Publisher: Self-published; first edition, first printing of 400; copyright © 2017

Text: English

Stiff-cover saddle-stitched book of 40 numbered pages with 14 images on several types of paper; 7.5×9 inches; full-color digital lithography, printed by Dual Graphics, Brea, California; $19.95 plus shipping ($4.50 in US & $15.00 USD other countries)

Book Design: Douglas Stockdale and Craig Evans – Text Editor: Gerhard Clausing – Cover Photograph: Scott Mathews

 

Notes: 

This book had its debut at the Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego, California, on October 26, 2017, and was received with great enthusiasm. It is a detailed guide to help the artist through all the steps and considerations to keep in mind when thinking about and executing an independently published artist book.

Douglas Stockdale, editorial founder of and prolific contributor to The PhotoBook Journal and SoCal PhotoExchange, who has been our guide through many artistic and publishing intricacies which he has discussed in hundreds of book reviews and articles, really gets to the point in this publication. Fortunately, his collaborator and sponsor in this venture is the renowned printing and communications company Dual Graphics in Brea, California, which already assisted Ansel Adams in artfully transferring his photography to print many years ago.

Doug certainly practices what he preaches. As a successful mentor and leader of workshops dealing with planning, producing, and marketing photo books, and as an author of a number of them himself (In Passing, Ciociaria, Pine Lake, Bluewater Shore), he is able to lay out logical and creative patterns for planning and doing artist books that are designed to help artists avoid many possible pitfalls that he has observed over time. The discussion is divided into five stages, which also constitute the chapters of this book:

  1. Book Pre-Visualization
  2. Marketing (including funding and fundraising)
  3. Book Development (including editing, sequencing the images, and making a book “dummy”)
  4. Book Design (and options)
  5. Book Production

Just to name one very important consideration, this Guide introduces marketing issues early in the process, rather than at the end, as others have done, since marketing information and decisions are integral to all other considerations that follow. Doug also devotes important space to the topics of selecting and sequencing the images to be included in an artist book, a topic that is sketchy in other guides on publishing your own artist book. There are many other planning considerations that he discusses to help the reader untangle potential difficulties.

Another fascinating feature of this book, extremely useful and exclusive, is the addition of sample pages of several different types of paper on which the same color and monochrome images are printed, so that the effect of printing on papers with different surfaces and characteristics can be seen. While the images below are no substitute for getting the actual book and studying the printing on the actual paper, they allow you to begin to see some differences. This feature alone is worth more than the cost of the book, as it is the best demonstration for working closely with a top-notch printing company, and to alert the potential maker of an artist book to all the details that can make a huge difference. There are also detailed descriptions of the papers included, as well as definitions of many terms that make the artist more knowledgeable when dealing with the printing and binding options. Needless to say, the author’s style is to the point, easy to read, and not filled with unnecessary technical jargon.

This book is highly recommended, especially if you are not quite sure about doing an artist book. The overview and the details provided here will help you understand and appreciate the process and will serve as a checklist to guide you through the entire process when you have made the decision to take the plunge, which will be greatly facilitated when consulting this publication during the sojourn.

Gerhard Clausing

01-guide douglas stockdale.jpg

02-guide douglas stockdale.jpg

03-guide douglas stockdale.jpg

04-guide douglas stockdale.jpg

05-guide douglas stockdale.jpg

06-guide douglas stockdale.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

August 31, 2017

Algis Griskevicius – TADA

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_cover

Copyright 2016 Algis Griskevicius

Photographer: Algis Griskevicius (born & resides Vilnius (Lithuania))

Publisher: NoRoutine Books (Lithuania)

Essay: Leonidas Donskis

Text: Lithuanian and English

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_inside_front_cover

Hardcover book, sewn and exposed tape binding, black & white lithography, glued insert booklet (saddle stitch), contact proof print, printed by UAB Druka, Klaipeda, Lithuania

Photobook designer: Gysis Skudzinskas

Notes: Algis Griskevicius includes in his artistic practice both paintings and photography, and his photobook TADA (THEN) is a series of photographs created between 1985 and 1995 as potential source material for his paintings. Some of the photographic prints have been altered to further refine Griskevicius’s visual concept for a painting, although from the essay by Donskis, the paintings may not have ever been completed. Thus the question Donskis raises; are these photographs works of art or unfinished works in progress, such as incomplete works by the paintings and sculptures of the early masters?

There is a rawness to the printed images, appearing unfinished and the additional marks adds to the mystery. When viewing Griskevicius’s paintings (not included in the book), there is evidence that some aspects, whether the composition, shapes or lines have made its way as a latent image. The worn photographs have a vernacular appearance, as though these were not intended to be “artistic” and indeed the raw recording of something of interest. The glued in booklet of 35mm black and white negative contract prints confirms Griskevicius’s interest in graphic shapes and lines as one of the constant themes that threads its way through the small images. This is an intriguing collection of thoughts that could be referenced as a potential source of imagination for the artist to draw on at a later date.

Cheers

Note: Recognized in a Lithuanian Book Completion as one of the Most Beautiful Lithuanian Books 2016 in the photo book category.

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_1

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_2

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_3

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_4

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_5

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_6

Algis_Griskevicius-TADA_7

July 31, 2017

Alla Mirovskaya – Old family Photos and Deep Sky Objects

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_cover

Artist: Alla Mirovskaya (born & resides Moscow, RU)

Self-Published & Limited Edition (100): Moscow (RU) copyright 2016

Text: English & Russian

Stiff cover with glued printed panels, sewn binding, four-color lithography, printed in Moscow (RU)

Photobook designer: Alla Mirovskaya

Notes: I will have to admit that lately I have become fascinated with artist books that utilize vernacular photographs to create a narrative. Perhaps even more so when it becomes apparent that the archive source for the photographic material is from one’s own family. This is probably due in no small part to my personal artistic book practice that utilize photographic material from my own family archive. Thus I find Alla Mirovskaya’s artist book Old family Photos and Deep Sky Objects extremely intriguing in how she layers and creates juxtapositions of her archive photographs with found photographs of distant galaxies and star systems.

One aspect of her vernacular photographs is that these appear to be of family, friends and acquaintances. The same subjects keep reappearing throughout her narrative. Another layer of this charming narrative is the inclusion the images of unknown individuals, which are photographs that have been found but without any notes or other information to inform Mirovskaya as to their identity. We would suspect that these photographs are included in a family archive for a reason. With the inclusion of these additional unknown subjects she further acknowledges how complex memory can be when there are potentially related persons and now their identity appears to be lost to the current generation. In some ways I think that this is another form of death as the memory as to who this person represents has died for the family. I think it might be easy to read that these photographs of individuals relate to the transitional nature of memory and its fragility.

Understanding the physics of the speed of light in space Mirovskaya’s found photographs of deep sky objects is the documentation of events that have occurred thousands and thousands of years ago, an even longer transitional memory that makes our current memories pale in comparison. Nevertheless, these two bodies of work within her book share the same context for memory; something was recorded and we have the opportunity to ponder who/what these individuals/events are? Mirovskaya has confounded the reader with another aspect; she mixes the captions of the individuals with those of the star systems and we are left adrift as to who might be whom. This tactic also unmoors the reader from a word/name association and allows deeper introspection of the book.

Equally fascinating for me is the close similarities of how a family archive from Russia compares to that of my own, which speaks of a universality of family. Perhaps all that more poignant given the current economic and political friction that is occurring now between the two respective countries of Russian and the United States. I think that we need to remember that at the family unit level we all share similar interests related to making a living, ensuring we have substance and a decent roof over our heads, love of our family and memories of our past that we attempt to hold on to.

Mirovskaya’s artist book is a very delightful and complex narrative about family memories in the context of the big picture of our complex and changing universe.

Cheers! Douglas Stockdale

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_1

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_2

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_3

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_4

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_5

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_6

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_7

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_8

Alla_Mirovskaya-Old_Family_Photos_and_Deep_Sky_Objects_9

July 10, 2017

Elena Kholkina – Time of the Moon

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_cover

Artist: Elena Kholkina (born & resides Moscow, RU)

Self-published artist book (Moscow, RU)

Essays: Elena Kholkina

Text: English

Glued Board on cloth with original color transparency in mount on cover, sewn binding, four-color lithography, Index of photographs, limited edition artist book (E of 50), printed in Moscow (RU)

Photobook designer: Elena Kholkina

Notes:  Elena Kholkina’s Time of the Moon is a mashup of created and found photographic material, including icon movie images, which is interwoven with quotes. One aspect of her multimedia practice that she has included in her book are the photographs of the resulting images after she projected movie stills and other images onto her subjects at night.

Her artist book is an investigation of a public site located within Moscow that is a collection of large buildings and structures, some dating back to the late 1920’s and associated open spaces. Due to current Russian economics’ many of the buildings in this large site are in a state of “hibernation” and the future appears to be unknown. Even as the political pendulum swings in Russia, it is difficult to foresee what the fate is for such structures that have a strong historical linkage to a different political period.

This situation of what should society do with old buildings that have a defined history but are no longer viable in the current economy or consistent with the political mood is more common that we might want to acknowledge. In America we have similar situations that range from small dusty Midwest towns with almost abandoned Main streets to large cities with dormant and decaying factories and public buildings which became too expensive to retrofit and are considered obsolete and abandoned in place. Chris Mottalini photographed various homes built by the 1950’s avant-garde architect Paul Rudolph which Mottalini documented just prior to demolition, as the design of these homes are considered too severe for current tastes.

Unlike the ruin porn photographs of a decaying city, Elena is attempting to create a dialog with the current structures still potentially variable and in place as a call to action. To potential save the destruction of this region of Moscow while the political bureaucrats slowly ponder what to do next. She raises questions, while recalling the historical past, such as the collective quest to visit the Moon, in hopes of changing the course of history. Reading this book is an emotional roller coaster ride with an unsettling ending.

Cheers! Douglas Stockdale

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_1

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_2

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_3

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_4

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_5

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_6

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_7

Elena_Kholkina_Time_of_the_Moon_8

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.