‘Open Books’, Paula Roush
Working within the framework of CoolTan Art’s support for therapeutic art workshops, Paula Roush established a collective under ‘Open Books’ as a participatory photo book project. ‘Open Books’ explored the narrative development of how a photographic collection can be viewed and interpreted through the different media of hand made editions, printed editions, and public exhibition. The photo book project was developed to address a sense of time and place through the incorporation and display of images, consisting of home, personal identity, memory and a sense of history.
The participants worked with a mix of found, sourced and individual photographs with the outcomes incorporated into a collective exhibition of photo books.
The photo book is an ideal medium by which to express one’s individuality and also enter into a dialogue with others. The visual juxtaposition of newly made images with personal memorabilia enabled the participants to develop personal narratives with both an artistic and therapeutic value through the exploration of memory, autobiography and cultural identity.
The process of creating the photo book project encompassed a variety of skills, from image making and composition, to the study of personal archives and family albums, the selection and editing of the material, including writing and drawing, and the physical construction of handmade book proofs that included sewing and other craft-related skills.
The final outputs of the photo book project included the creation of artist newspapers and a case bound book. For the exhibition, loose pages from all the publications were stitched and mounted into frames to evoke the physicality of the publications. The process of decision-making and selection was part of the working process resulting in both the personal/private books and a collective public exhibition of both books and prints on the wall.
‘Open Books’ was commissioned by HS Projects and funded by the Insight Community Arts Programme (2002 – 2015).
The project ran from January to June 2013.