Future Photograd: Marianne Bjørnmyr

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...

 
 

Series statement

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. 

Project length

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. 

Influences

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. 

Images from the series  An Authentic Relation,  on show at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin. 

Images from the series An Authentic Relation, on show at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin. 

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

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Future Photograd: Alex Ingram Book Launch

The University of the West of England 2016 graduate Alex Ingram is releasing a book for his new body of work, David's House. The official launch takes place in St David's itself on 28th July where there'll be signed prints and brand new books to purchase. We can't wait to talk to Alex more about the launch and his book in his upcoming Photograd Feature!

Images from the series David's House

Series statement
St Davids is a city founded on the desire for seclusion. As the United Kingdom’s smallest city, both in terms of size and population, it shelters on the most westerly tip of Wales, surrounded on three sides by vast expanses of open water, where the last shards of land stand strong against the crashing waves and perilous currents of The Bitches. It is a landscape that has been shaped by nature and in turn has shaped the inhabitants of this community, who have learnt to live and adapt to its remote geographical location in quiet solidarity.

The writer, Thomas Mann saw in solitude something that “gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous”. The return to my hometown after four years away has enabled me to consider St Davids and its people through fresh eyes, examining their relationship with the landscape and the connections and fellowships that have formed within this tight knit community. The people that live there have a connection with one another that goes far beyond just a postcode. They have a patriotism for the place. This book aims to give voice to some of the individuals that inhabit the landscape, and the stories they have to tell. 

Series length and influences
I tend to work on projects for a relatively short amount of time, but I have been working on my most recent project, David’s House for just under a year. The project all started with my neighbour Dai and my relationship with him. He has spent his entire life living within a three-mile radius of where he grew up, with no real interest of living anywhere else. For him, St Davids offered everything he wanted in life, and he used to tell me all about his life and his experiences growing up here. I on the other hand felt that St Davids didn’t really offer me what I wanted, and this project was an exploration of my relationship with the place that I grew up, and how it has impacted not just my life, but the lives of every individual that lives there. Dai was the main influence for this project. I was fascinated by his happy little life in this little part of the world, and I wanted to expand my project to the wider community and explore how St Davids has impacted their lives. 

Creating the work
I have always had a massive interest in photobooks and the role that they have in photography, and for me, it is the perfect way of viewing an image. I think it is incredibly difficult to make a successful photobook as there are so many fundamentals that you need to consider, from the size of the book, the edit, the order in which the images are displayed, right down to the paper stock. You need to get all of these things right in order for the book to be a success, and I spent a long time trying to figure all this out. 

Is the series finished?
I don’t really consider the project to be finished. I have photographed 48 people over the course of the project, but there are 1891 people living in St Davids. Once I have photographed them all and heard all their stories, that is when I will consider the project finished.