Marianne Bjørnmyr, LCC MA Photography graduate and soon to be featured Photograd, has a new book coming out! The launch of An Authentic Relation will take place at The Photographer’s Gallery, London, on Tuesday 23rd August 2016. We spoke to Marianne to find out more about the project and the process of creating her forthcoming book...
The work is based on a diary found on the barren and desolate South-Atlantic island of Ascension in 1726. The diary was found to belong to the solider Leenert Hasenbosch, who one year earlier was left as a prisoner on the island as a punishment for sodomy. The diary contains detailed descriptions from the first day of his arrival until the last day of his life, six months later. The book was brought to England and has since been published in several versions; the story has through time been fabricated and twisted several times.
The work presents photographs from a trip I made to Ascension Island, accompanied with the original diary; a constellation of documentation, culminating in an overall feeling of distance and displacement, questioning our idea about history, not as fortified facts, but as possible fiction. Through the work, one navigates between text and images, forming an incomplete experience of the story; the immediate apparent gets obliterated and one receives access to a incomparable world – composed by the connections between photography, text and object but separated by history and time.
In all I have spent about two years working on the project, where about the last year has been work on the book: editing, designing, producing and so on.
For this project of course I worked a lot with the original diary of Leenert Hasenbosch, it is a 92 page long detailed description of his last six months, and reading it determined pretty much every decision of the project. And also it made me look into a lot of other referencing material and written documentation of history in general.
Creating the book
Making the book has been a very long process, in particular the editing and design, but very much the production as well. I spent a lot of time working on the dummy and testing out different ideas for the finishing, and could probably have spent another whole year tweaking and changing the contents. There are a lot of steps involved in the process of the production itself when arriving to that stage, where the covers as screen printed separately, the spine as UV spotted, and then there are two different papers in the book itself, where the text is attached separately in the back of each book. So, there is a lot of time spent on making sure all the involved people get the right messages, and also overseeing that nothing gets lost from place to place. But of course, that is also the fun part, seeing it coming together and becoming an object on its own.
Future aims for project
I have also been working on the project as an exhibition and a part of it was shown in Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin, during July. So I am continuing to work on that, and developing it into a larger show with more content; it is really exciting working on the book and the exhibition alongside each other, they work really differently, and the audience reacts differently to it. Which underpins the background of the story and documentation I have been working on.
Is the series finished?
The work keeps changing form all the time, in a sense of course that I have finished creating the content and the material, but the presentation for exhibitions is constantly changing. The book is being published at the end of August, so that is one section that for now is constant, but I am enjoying seeing the variations in presentation that develops as I go.
See below for a preview of the book, An Authentic Relation.