The Marseille Papers
The Marseille Papers is a trilogy that accompanies the ongoing project that looks at 1,200 identity photographs dating from the early 20th century until approximately 1970 from southeast France.
Considerations (decision to create a book as opposed to prints; paper stock, colours, weight, feel, binding, size, unique qualities: such as hand finishing)
The main volume, Unravelling an Archive, is to give the viewer an idea of the vast array of people within the collection and relates to social classification. The reason why I put all the photographs within a book is because I wanted the viewer to feel intimate and familiar with the people as they work through the pages in a close and contemplative space. Keeping the book simple, similar to a government document, the finished volume consists of 160 pages.
The other two books in the trilogy, House of Sleeping Beauties and Searching for Alain, are my investigations into the archive. All are size A4, printed on off-white paper, Coptic bound with sewn board bindings, covered in a light grey fabric with end papers to reflect the tones of the images and housed in a similar clothed slipcase.
Interior (use of images and/or text, layout, introduction and ending)
Book I - sequencing worked around the idea of the grid as if composing music, each face being a note, their expression a musical rhythm, with the fronts on the left-hand side and the backs mirrored on the right-hand side of a spread. The break between each group gives the reader a space to breathe. There is a quote by Scott McQuire followed by a foreword outlining the concept and an index at the back listing categories.
Book II - includes close-up images of 14 women from the archive. I chose to focus on the women to bring them to the fore because the time when the majority of these photographs were taken, women where categorised within the private space, the home, which meant isolation and repression.
Book III - contains 9 images, to give a sense of mystery in my search for clues and ghosts lurking in Marseille.
For more information please see Photobook Spolight.