It seems obvious to me now, having completed the book, that in hindsight this was something that I desperately needed to do. I feel like I ‘d carried a sack of cement on my back for 20 years, a great weight unfulfilled. Scared, reassuring myself over the years, that I was waiting for the “right time,” hoping secretively, that this time would never come.
The fear, not a fear of failure, inasmuch, as failure is heroic, but simply the dread of producing something not ”special”, a book devoid of a beauty or intimacy. Not in the same way people think sunsets are beautiful (I don’t btw, they’re visual clichés, products of learned behaviour) but how something neglected can have a” terrible” beauty indeed, a humanness. I couldn’t live with that regret, not that anyone would know that ”something went wrong”, in particular, but I would, and that would hurt. My role as a photographer is to act as a memorialiser for the unloved. That’s a great responsibility, y’know? One I don’t take lightly. The poor deserve a dignity above all others. My book is made with love and, love can be fucked.
A Joy Division song played underneath the video of the book ”Brutal” by Michael Luczak on the website “Have a nice book” led me to the designer Ania Nalecka (Tapir Book Design) long time collaborator with the Sputnik Photo Collective. This is the best decision I ever made…working with Ania.
She was very sweet and punctuated all her emails with smiley faced emojis’ J but Ania was tough, a maddening perfectionist…one bossy Buddhist. If these J didn’t appear you knew you were in trouble. I owe Ania everything, that’s a fact.
How do two people from such different backgrounds reach a commonality of creative thought? Answer, lots of email. It was a very prolonged existential correspondence… “coated papers make my teeth hurt,” that was a good one. Gradually we inched forward , ticking off design elements one by one, Ania alternating as designer/psychologist . For me, “Fibro Dreams”, my baby, is the result of 1000 correct decisions.
I don’t wish to make a big deal out of this but it shouldn’t be left unsaid. My dearest friend Courtney who the book is dedicated to, was a tremendous encouragement to me. I thank her.
Fibro Dreams is an adults’ version of a (lost) childs’ picture book. That line was the trigger mechanism that set Ania and I on our way. In effect we believed we were remaking an existing book( perhaps with a happy ending?) unlike ours. Pages were torn out and repaired and other defacement and reconstructive processes used, an anonymous book, an unrequited love story of a life, alone and unknown. We believed that only in the flaws can the truths be revealed. Fibro is an inexpensive building material of modest respectability.
Fibro Dreams- live through this, keep going, it doesn’t matter…it’s ok.