In the past years photobooks have been one of the most popular ways of expression for emerging and established photographers. Turning away from the gallery space and locking images and words within pages and spreads is both a historical and contemporary form of communication between the artist – artwork and the viewer. Thus we decided to commence a new series of articles including tiny book reviews of photobooks which have caught our eyes.
Kicking off with To Make a Prairie, a photobook by LCC graduate Fiona Filipidis, whose practice is primarily concerned with our relationship with nature, the environment and ecology. Memories of bee hives kept on rooftop terraces in the middle of Paris influenced Fiona, who was born on the outskirts of the French capital. Returning to this memory happened to be the starting point for this visual research – studying the increasing danger of extinction of bees, as a result of consumerism and urbanisation.
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live” – falsely attributed to Einstein.
Having collected images since she can remember, Fiona has applied the method of appropriating her fascination with the honey bee and our reliance on the specie. Through the book the archival material is juxtaposed with images taken by the artist, intertwining the past with the present to underline our constant and ever-growing relationship with the honey bee.
The book is constructed around the visual representation of the bee, and the combination of found material and personal photographs are often comical and bounce off one another. Readers are left to make up their minds of what the images might mean and allude to, leaving a gap for reflection in relation to global ecology issues.
Various types of pictures are used as a means to constantly excite the reader’s eye and provide a wider context of the subject and how we have become to disturb and regard honey bees. Tying the images together is short text based on the photographer’s own experiences, forming an intimate response to the subject. This emotive and intuitive language contrast to the factual information about the honeybee and its history in relation to us.
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