QCP is taking books of sixteen Australian photo-media artists to PhotoBook Independent (1 – 3 May 2015). This series of focus interviews gives an insight into the selected artists.
How did you get into photography?
I trained at Sydney College of the Arts in the 1980s.
How did you arrive at the decision to create a photo book, and how is working with a book different from working on an exhibition?
I made my first photo books – they were one-off, hand bound artist books – in order to present some images that I didn’t want to put on a gallery wall. They were details from archival photos of women patients that had been taken in a psychiatric hospital in the 1940s. My idea was that the pages of a book would offer a degree of ‘protection’ (the books were covered in soft thick felt) from judgmental or over-curious viewing that couldn’t be achieved in a gallery. Since then I’ve made other one-off books, and a few limited edition ones.
Tell us a bit about your book featured at PhotoBook Independent.
Prison Library was commissioned by Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery in WA for a survey show I had there in 2014. The brief was to make a new work with local subject matter. I decided on a book once I’d found my subject–a former library from which all the books had disappeared. The idea was to gather all the evidence I could find of this ‘missing’ library. I also tried to give the book something of the hands-on, making-do aesthetic that had permeated this particular library, where pretty much everything in it was made and maintained by the inmates.
For more information about Anne Ferran, please visit her website.
Banner image: Prison Library cover