It is through Michelle's eyes that one sees the world differently. She leads us to look at and appreciate images and objects which most of us wouldn’t notice, or would dismiss as uninteresting. Through her eyes the ordinary, overlooked or badly printed are revealed as fascinating and beautiful. Immediately things aren't necessarily what they seem and the creators aren't always obvious, but nostalgia is often part of the narrative.
The 'found' collections come from an interest in the stories and questions that arise from any lost and found imagery and words. While flicking through the pages, you quickly realise that you have filled in some blanks, invented a bit of the story and put your own history and personality onto the subjects. This way everyone gets a different experience from the collections in the books as it depends on their own experiences and past.
The married images, in her other collections, reveal contradictions and comparisons with the old and new. By carefully placing a particular image opposite another, or collaging them together, a dialogue is prompted between them that may not be immediately obvious to the viewer.
Vintage print, photography and retouching seems basic compared to today's overly sharp and hyper-real digital techniques. This is particularly extraordinary when these images were used for educational or informative purposes and yet many of them were unintelligible. However by re-contextualising them in these books they have a new purpose and in fact have their own accidental, naive beauty. Seemingly redundant images of food photography, educational illustrations and photos are returned to the present.
Combined notes and marginalia recreated in some of the books read as diary entries, or snippets of stranger’s incomplete memoirs. In a world where so much is thrown away, it is pleasing to think some of our past is being kept.The books are beautiful, well-crafted objects in their own right and something to be treasured in the age of cheap publishing and e-books.
Below are some images of some selected books:
For more information on the Found series of artist's book click here
Actual postcards sent to a two year old from her father whilst he was 'somewhere in France' during the First World War. A copy is in the Imperial War Museum. This was a commission. Click here for more information.
For more information on the Postcard series of artist's book click here.
A biennial photography project - click here for more information.
BOOK OF COOKERY compares the dubiously perfect, choreographed and fanciful commercial photographs from the 1940s-70s cookery books with the hap-hazard messy truth of Ms Abadie’s organic cookbook - click here for more information.