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Book of the Week: A Pick by Lara Shipley

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Lara Shipley Photographer Lara Shipley selects Blackdrop Island by Klara Källström as photo-eye Book of the Week.

Blackdrop Island. By Klara Källström.
B-B-B-Books, 2011.
This week's Book of the Week pick comes from photographer Lara Shipley who has selected Blackdrop Island by Klara Källström published by B-B-B-Books.

"In Blackdrop Island, Klara Källström’s photographs are the impressions of an outsider. Made mainly at night on trips to Tokyo, the bright flash illuminates, but does not explain. Swedish photographer Källström has fallen down a hole in the earth and has come out some place new. The mysteries she has brought back are small and innocent. Things seem odd. People are caught in unknowable acts. You can feel the distance between photographer and subject, the wander’s bewilderment at a foreign place.

The book’s design emphasizes this unmoored feeling. It throws the viewer into the images without a word. Letting us try (and mostly fail) to put the pieces together. But the impression is not one of carelessness. Through the extremely thoughtful design we are led, we trust. The lush purple of the cover and endpapers is picked up in a few images. The cover text, partly obscured by a black square is inversely blind stamped on the back. The Japanese binding anchors us in a location never mentioned in the books pages. The interior folds peak through inky black; another hole to fall through. Everywhere there is this reference to darkness: the night sky, a lack of understanding, disorientation.

In contrast, the poems by Viktor Johansson that make up the later part of the book feel personal. They speak of a family life, they say 'we,' they make mention of teeth, hair, scars, physical, tangible bodies. The design, the poems and the photographs feel so carefully in balance, it is a reminder of the chasm that can exist between experiencing a project in book form verses online. These elements together form an enigmatic and mysterious collection that both pulls you close and leaves you in the dark."—Lara Shipley

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Blackdrop Island. By Klara KällströmB-B-B-Books, 2011.
Blackdrop Island. By Klara KällströmB-B-B-Books, 2011.

Lara Shipley is a photographer, writer and bookmaker who primarily makes work about people and their relationships with the out-of-the-way places they call home.
Her work is exhibited has recently been exhibited at Newspace Center for Photography, Northlight Gallery, among other venues and is slated for exhibition at 555 Gallery in Boston. Lara’s photographs appear in publications such as Mother Jones Magazine, Vice Magazine, Oxford American and NPR. She received a Masters of Fine Arts in photography from Arizona State University and a Bachelors of Photojournalism from the University of Missouri.

Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal's Devil's Promenade is currently on view at photo-eye Bookstore + Project Space at 376A Garcia Street. Signed copies of their new publication Spook Light Chronicles, Volume II are nearly sold out; copies of the limited edition are still available. Read the interview with Shipley and Dolezal here.