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On Friday September 5th I attended the Gallery of Photography Ireland’s  Photobook launch of Kate Nolan’s ‘Neither’. A drinks reception and a ‘conversation’ with Kate Nolan and Jose Luis Neves was held at 6pm.

Kate Nolan is an Irish visual artist specialising in extended photographic stories that examine the human condition. Her practice involves working closely with my subjects over time and then illustrating their circumstances through images and text. Through this evolving practice, her subject matter has moved towards gender issues as she explores her own position within a contemporary context. (Nolan, 2014a)

Neither’, is the book of her long-term work exploring the lives of women in Kaliningrad, Russia. This work won the Alliance Française Photography Award 2013 (The Alliance Française Dublin, s.d) and has been exhibited in Dublin, London, Cardiff, Minneapolis and Russia. Kate Nolan describes the work thus:

‘Neither’ is an exploration into the hearts of young women in Kaliningrad, Russia. The first generation to have grown up after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they look to define their identity in this small ‘island’ with in Europe. The women I have been living and sharing with have generously opened their homes and minds to allow me to better understand the links between place, identity and history.” (Nolan 2014b)

In the conversation with Jose Luis Neves, Kate Nolan first described doing the work in Russia and then the process of making the book in collaboration with the designer Syb (Syb, s.d). She related how at one point photographs from the project were displayed on a Russian web site as a ‘work in progress’; this changed the context of the work for some of the women subjects to such an extent that they withdrew from the project or threatened to.

Those present hear also how the making of the photo book was a slow process with many ‘disagreements’. For example, initially the book was conceived in square format but late in the project this was rejected for a rectangular shape; however, inside the book’s cover the photographs are cut to square shape with a separate booklet of ‘captions’ that run beneath them; the result is that there is no set sequence to the hand written captions, the pages of the caption booklet can be turned so as to apply to any of the images.

The book is published in limited edition of 250 copies.

References

Nolan, Kate (2014a) Kate Nolan [online] At:  http://www.katenolan.ie/about/ (Accessed: 06.10.14)

Nolan, Kate (2014b) Kate Nolan [online] At: http://www.katenolan.ie/neither/ (Accessed: 06.10.14)

Syb (s.d) –Syb- [online] At: http://www.sybontwerp.nl/

The Alliance Française Dublin (s.d) AF Photography Festival [online] At: http://alliance-francaise.ie/photo/ (Accessed: 06.10.14)

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