I first became aware of Deborah Parkin’s photography a little over a year and a half ago, when we were both part of Wallspace Gallery’s Life Support Japan print benefit to raise money in the aftermath of the Fukushima earthquake. That was an amazing coming together in the global photographic community and I made a lot of great new friends during that time, including Deborah, who immediately struck me as a genuinely nice, supportive and charming person (stop blushing Deb!). I think she had just started on her wet plate collodion journey back then so it feels lovely to have seen her work progress and blossom over the weeks and months that followed, which has now lead up to one of her beautifully bound books landing on my doorstep.
Deborah was always dedicated and serious about her own handmade books, I remember reading her early blog posts detailing the painstaking process of putting them together, so it’s lovely that Galerie Vevais have taken that one step further and produced not one, but three exquisite limited edition book/print sets. In addition they have also produced a simply gorgeous affordable version with hardcover and cloth bound spine. I spent most of last night cooing over it. These hardcover editions will be followed by softcover versions once they sell out and are a great introduction to Deborah’s work, featuring images from her Memory, Stillness In Time and September Is The Cruellest Month portfolios. From the cover to the paper, and the image reproductions, this book is of the highest quality, and stays faithful to Deborah’s “handmade book” roots.
I felt a tinge a pride for Deb when I reached the last page and saw Catbells, which is not only the first image of hers I ever saw, but is a beautiful portrait of her daughter Fleur looking out over the Derwent Water at Catbells in the Lake District. I have since seen many more portraits of Fleur as she is growing up and this one now feels like a poignant point in time, the beginning of both of their journeys.