When Jenny first gave us this assignment, I only half processed the fact that we’d have to do a book with only images. I think I was employing my selective listening skills and I chose not to hear about the part of the project that I wasn’t excited about.
Naturally, I chose the word book first and chose to do the lost option. Generally, the book was about the loss of a relationship between my sister and myself over the years. Making the book was pretty cathartic and enjoyable and I found that even though I was technically only using words, the way that I set them up on the page gave them some image-like qualities. I didn’t want any page to look like any other. I wanted there to be lots of colors. I like books that are visually exciting and that was what I tried to create.
While I was making the first book, I slowly began to think about what my next book would consist of and a sense of quiet panic that always accompanies my feelings of un-inspiredness began to build. When I found out that the books were meant to be companion books, I really started to fret. I didn’t know how I could apply “found” to my relationship with my sister, but I had to do something so I started cutting stuff out of magazines. I thought about things I have learned from the loss and how I could translate that into images. For instance, I have learned that being silent and keeping secrets is very harmful to me. I have also learned that the way that I interact with my sister and feel toward her, plays into the way that I feel about myself as a person–sometimes I think of myself as cold and cruel when it comes to her. I did my best to illustrate these things and then looked at what I had put together but it felt incomplete so I went searching through old pictures.
I found one from my sister’s graduation from college and in it we are holding hands and dancing. There were some others that I used as well, but the one of us dancing felt like the most important.
I made copies of this picture and cut it up. I blew up our hands, cut them out, repeated them throughout the pages. Something about looking at the pictures and looking at the image of our hands juxtaposed amongst all the other images made me remember what I have lost and I think in some ways, remembering what I’ve lost, remembering what I once had, made me feel sad, which is a good thing compared to the numbness that I typically feel about our situation. So in a strange way, this book helped me find my way back to sadness, back to some emotion.
So while the second book was definitely more challenging, it was a good exercise. Without the restriction of images only, I wouldn’t have come up with what I did. I half think that I’d like to go back now and add words because I think that words always add something positive, but maybe I’m wrong about that…it’s possible that words would only hem the “story” in so to speak and make it less relatable to others, but I’m not sure.