"I was hit by the fictitious smell of the sea," writes Jonas Wettre about the moment he discovered a box of glass slides from the '40s and '50s that were passed down within his family. Jonas became fascinated by the colors and the quality of the images, in particular a set from a journey that his father, Staffan Wettre, took with Gunnar Stenström in 1959 aboard a three masted topsail schooner, The Flying Clipper. This journey, a trip from Gothenburg, Sweden to the Western Mediterranean, became the inspiration for Flying Clipper Logbook, a new publication from Wettre Förlag.
Jonas Wettre designed and arranged the book, which contains a diverse mix of photos, paintings, prints, Double-8 strips, drawings, diagrams and text that work together to tell a story. The writing throughout is in Swedish but the book comes with an insert of English translations, including a great candid conversation between Staffan Wettre and Gunnar Stenström titled "Reflections and Observations 50 Years Later."
The photographs within the book - images of the expansive ocean, of rocky land, and life on the boat - are reproduced with the aged blue-green color that Jonas was so captivated by, and which we too grow to adore. Equally absorbing are the copper-plate etchings by Gunnar Stenström and the strips of Staffan Wettre's Double-8 film that roll off the pages.
There are a number of elegant details about the book itself that are worth noting: the fitting title calligraphy of Paul Ruscha (brother of Ed Ruscha) that is screenprinted on the cover, the elastic strap that immediately suggests 'journal,' and the use of spot varnish on certain images to make them appear more like objects on the pages. In both production quality and content, the book is beautifully executed.
Flying Clipper Logbook is a book about a lot of things; family history, youth and adventure, to name a few. But above all, it is about a deep and enduring affection for the sea. "My father taught us to love the sea," recounts Jonas, "a love that becomes an empty space that grows with distance."
Shane Lavalette (b. 1987, Burlington, VT) is a photographer currently living and working in Somerville, MA. In 2009, he received his BFA from Tufts University in partnership with The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally. In addition, Lavalette is the founding editor of Lay Flat, a publication of contemporary photography and writing on the medium.
www.shanelavalette.com / www.layflat.org