WHISPERS, BOOKS & SHOUTS
On Wednesday, May 31st the photobook gathering “Whispers, Books & Shouts” will take place at The Utrechtse Boekenbar conducted by photographer, independent editor and photobook lover Walter Costa.
The evening will be an intimate photographic gathering followed by a collective conversation in which Walter Costa will explore his two big passions – photography and books – through the storytelling strategies of five books that were part of the last exhibition at FOTODOK “Whispers and Shouts. Voices of Ukrainian Women Photographers”.
Together we will explore how photobooks can work as a time capsule of the events that took place before, or during the ongoing war and how the way we look at them changes when the social context is no longer the same, and how difficult it can be to talk about history when we are still too close to the events. We will converse about photography as a powerful tool for memory, the narrative power of artistic projects in contrast with mass media, the importance of new perspectives and the notion of documenting history on the go.
The photobooks that will accompany us that night will be Odesa by Yelena Yemchuk, Loss by Katia Motyleva, Hidden by Elena Subach, NA4JOPM8 by Igor Chekachkov and Licking War Wounds by Lia Dostileva and Andrii Dostilev.
Yelena Yemchuk began photographing the city in 2015, taking pictures of the sixteen and seventeen-year-old boys and girls at the Odesa Military Academy. The year before, Russia had invaded and subsequently annexed Crimea. That was the beginning of the fighting on the Eastern border of Ukraine. As a result, Yemchuk continued to make work there until 2019. Costa will use this book as a starting point for the conversation, tackling the tensions and the situation of suspense that breaths through the photographic series and the repercussions of the work as being made before the outbreak of the recent war.
Loss, by Katia Motyleva, is a personal story about the unfolding war in Ukraine, causing one loss after another, in which the photographer returns to the photo album in search of an answer after the death of her sister. Walter will continue the conversation by exploring what it meant for the photographer to follow the conflict from a distance and the power of personal stories to narrate social and political events.
The conversation will continue with Hidden, by Elena Subach which follows a team of workers and volunteers in the medieval city of Lviv while rushing out to protect its monuments and cultural relics from destruction. This book will guide us to the notions of documenting history on the go and how, when events that are too recent to be yet rendered historical, are seen through documentary lenses.
With NA4JOPM8 we will enter Igor Chekachkov’s (partially) restored photographic archive, discussing how the future visual archives of these events could be read and interpreted in the future, and what could be the role of artistic narratives in their configuration.
Licking War Wounds
Lastly, we will round up the conversation with Lia Dostileva and Andrii Dostilev’s Licking War Wounds, in which the artists documented the gradual disappearance of a salt tank daily licked by their tongues. This slow and quite painful process demonstrates the slow and not necessarily successful re-shaping of an object of trauma. The work will allow us to wonder about photography and temporality in relation to social relevant issues.
About Walter Costa
Among many things, Walter Costa is a photographer, a visual artist, an independent editor an educator and a book lover. He is the founder of TRAMA, a photobook discussion group which held talks and workshops across Latin America and Havaiana Papers, a distribution platform aimed at improving the circulation of Brazilian photobooks which has taken part in independent book fairs both in Brazil and abroad. He regularly gives workshops and lectures in various institutions across Latin America and Europe, such as KABK-Royal Academy in The Hague (NL), focusing on collective bookmaking and visual storytelling.
This event is initiated by FOTODOK, programmed by Walter Costa, organised by Nuria Bofarull, and hosted by De Utrechtse Boekenbar.
Free of charge