PHOTOBOOK REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS AND WRITE-UPS
ALONG WITH THE LATEST PHOTO-EYE NEWS

Social Media

Book Review : Corbeau


Book Review Corbeau By Anne Golaz Reviewed by Arista Slater-Sandoval Thirteen years in the making, Anne Golaz’s Corbeau, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook of the Year Award, depicts rural farm life in Switzerland where Golaz grew up. The book presents time and life experiences non-chronologically to create a visual language of Golaz’s own making.
Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017. 
 
Photography is an act of preservation — an attempt to save and savor a moment of fleeting importance. When performed regularly, it creates a visual timeline of our lives, facilitated by smartphone apps — such as Instagram or One Second Every Day. These apps harness the desire to document fleeting moments, to capture the warm comfort of past happiness in order to bask in its perpetual recollection.

Memory is a familiar place to rest easy in, as it allows recollection to whitewash, inoculate, and mitigate the coarseness of experience. There is also, beneath the façade these apps provide, a stronger need to further unpack or understand the present; to ask ourselves “why” and propel the necessity of documentation beyond nostalgia.

Thirteen years in the making, Anne Golaz’s Corbeau, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook of the Year Award, depicts rural farm life in Switzerland where Golaz grew up. The book presents time and life experiences non-chronologically to create a visual language of Golaz’s own making. Cobblestones and pastures reflect the changing seasons and consequentially the passing of years; people and livestock have offspring and grow old; cold nights and empty rooms punctuate the progress of time. Menial life events are meticulously sequenced regardless of time in varying sizes and page layouts. Written while in what she refers to as “a distant north” (Finnish Lapland), free-form musings about the farm and its inhabitants balance the portrait of place while expanding on Golaz’s relationship to the family farm.

Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.
Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.

Images, combined with text and drawings, create an abstract rhythm that produces a sense of complex familiarity. Golaz establishes her poetic visual vocabulary through design and drawn symbols between images. Color and black-and-white images, as well as the page layouts, tell a story beyond language about the passage of time. Photographing family and a known environment allows for a deeper investigation to create veiled representations, like spider webs in the summer sun that are not visible until broken. This obtuse comprehension is like hearing a foreign language for the first time. We may not know the meaning of all the words, but we understand the basic desire to communicate

Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.

Usually, we recall life events chronologically and take the passage of time for granted. In Corbeau, Golaz organizes life events according to another model. Without time as a guideline, Golaz has total autonomy in the structure of her narrative; she creates connections between images, drawings, and texts as she encounters them. She poetically mixes changes in farm life, family structure, and surroundings in support of her story.

Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.
Corbeau Photographs by Anne Golaz. Mack, 2017.

Corbeau is a beautifully constructed book, and I would be remiss not to mention the screen-printed cover. With a beautiful purple design, the cover of the book is a print in and of itself, with the chosen image wrapping the spine and inside folded flaps. The seemingly cryptic organization of images, text, and drawings merits time and careful attention. With Golaz as the guide, readers can discover hidden connections and come to understand her rendering of rural Swiss farm life in all its complexity.
— Arista Slater-Sandoval

Purchase Book

ARISTA SLATER-SANDOVAL  was born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan. She moved in 2007 to washington D.C. to pursue a BFA in photography at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. After completing her BFA, Arista moved to Cambridge MA, and attended the College of Art and Design at Lesley University where she completed her MFA in Fine Art Photography in 2013. While in grad school she focused in gum bichromate, and large scale image transfers. Currently Arista lives and works in New Mexico with her husband while traveling and working on her various mediums of choice.

Read more book reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment