And I reminisce
limited edition of 700 copies
72 pages, 46 color plates
print on cloth ; hardcover
text ; Jörgen Axelvall
language ; Japanese and English
book design ; Katsuya Kato
size ; 270mm*225mm*15mm
roshin books 2021
release date ; August 2021
As a young adult Jörgen Axelvall moved to New York City and soon made a curiously illuminating discovery about himself. The works in this book represent a visual testament to his discovery, explained and reflected upon in a short story penned by Axelvall.
"And I reminisce" is Axelvall’s life-work and attempt to recapture time.
It’s an intimate collection of photographs – portraits of friends, lovers and young men personifying Axelvall’s ‘visual memories’ from childhood through adolescence - paired with photographs of flowers.
The flowers, captured in much the same style as Axelvall’s portraits, represent an equally crucial part of Axelvall’s early memories, as we soon learn from the introductory text.
Setting out with his predilection for Polaroid and Instant Films, to connect with the traditions of casual, studio, and illicit photography, Axelvall pursues the immediacy and tactility to preserve the thrill of each fresh encounter. The photographs are meticulously scanned for subsequent treatment. With the regularly occurring flaws and imperfections of Instant Film as well as Axelvall’s preference for photographing in low, natural light – always handheld and with slow shutter speeds - the resulting photographs have a painterly quality.
Axelvall is not simply taking portraits or depicting memories though.
In his own words:
“Taking pictures of people I feel affection for is a way of getting to know them better, to get a deeper understanding, to love more. The camera allows me to converse without words, to gaze into somebody’s mind and soul. I watch, study and try to capture the beauty I see.”
「And I reminisce」might be an exploration of Axelvall’s past but it is not a search for an idyllic past that inaccurately occurred; Axelvall is seeking clues and junctions that would have altered his present if acknowledged or acted upon earlier.
Included with the book is a pamphlet titled 「ruminations」 comprising two short essays by Paul McInnes and Yuki Harada, both accomplished writers. Through these texts we get further insight into Axelvall’s work method and personality.
Susan Sontag, the great American polymath and photography critic, wrote,
“To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”