Callum Beaney

University: Nottingham Trent University

Graduation: 2017

Websitewww.callumbeaney.format.com

Statement: Consisting primarily of work made in the forests and tracks surrounding my home, Some Moments is a book predominantly concerned with our place in the world, and its constant change: the passage and cycling of time, the fleetingness of things, and the relationships between them, and us. 

In these quiet, often secluded places, small moments and details reveal themselves. In these passing moments, where things appear to be paradoxically frozen in time, and cycling perpetually between emergence and falling away, one may form a new sensitivity to things, and our standing with them.

  Some Moments  photobook

Some Moments photobook

What is your favourite photobook by another photographer? I have no single favourite, but I recently bought Xiaoyi Chen’s Koan (2017) and Joseph Ball’s Monstrous Pourings, and have been really taken by both.

Direction: At university there was a semester dedicated to designing a photobook - I found that arranging chopped-up test prints and contact sheets into folded sheets of A3 paper suited what I was doing much more than planning for the wall. I began to experiment with a sort of “pseudo-narrative” driven by image relationships and spacing, and things went from there.

  Some Moments  photobook

Some Moments photobook

Considerations: I see a lot of potential in the book format, and am attracted to the way such an enclosed space can create its own separate sort of “universe” between the pages. For this, I envisioned a sparse, sort of refined scrapbook with small prints stuck in. 

In terms of design, something significant was how the spine would function. I wanted something that could be held open, but which would primarily lay flat, almost like a panel. Considering my attention towards impermanence and this scrapbook-like working process, binding with a cover or case seemed less appropriate, and so the text block is housed in a simple blue sleeve.

  Some Moments  photobook

Some Moments photobook

Interior: When it comes to putting prints to pages, I’m very careful about size and negative space: the page isn’t just a material support, but is itself the work. For me, it’s almost like silence and sustain in music. 

In another way, the spaces between images can bring to attention “the photographic” in photographs, and this push and pull between presence and absence. In the corner of one spread is an image of a bench and sapling overlooking a forest: the page can fill in for the forest, yet being restricted to the print, perceptually it pushes and pulls. 

  Some Moments  photobook

Some Moments photobook

Inspiration: I read a lot in general, and often listen to music when I explore, develop, edit etc. Composers and musicians like Dylan Carlson, Toshimaru Nakamura and Arvo Part have in different ways really influenced how I approach not only my work but also the places I photograph. I’d also point to Kenko’s Essays In Idleness and Ryokan, a poem from whom is in the back of this book. Photographically speaking, Raymond Meeks and Masao Yamamoto are both favourites of mine.

Much of my development comes from walking, however. Though the work is more rooted in concepts than it is about a specific location and its circumstances, being in places, experiencing them and then later on forming connections between those experiences far more informs what I do than studying other artists.

  Some Moments  photobook

Some Moments photobook

Advice and Future Goals: For those looking to work with books, Archipelago Projects, TIS Books, SPBH Journal and SPEW Editions are all well worth looking at. The latter in particular is producing some really interesting work.

Regarding future goals, this book was more ellipsis than period, so to speak; I’m refining it into something more like the latter, with a view towards limited publication. I have however been taking my practice in very different directions lately, so though I very much want to engage with other artists, publishers etc, most important to me is to keep making work, and moving forward.