ciprian honey cathedral by Raymond Meeks. Published by Mack.
This has been a difficult year for us all, and not least for photobook publishers. If printers weren’t closed altogether, for many months clients weren't allowed on press. Frankly, I’m amazed that so many fine titles have been produced at all.
So with this in mind, it’s not been easy to name a single ‘favorite book'. My list shuffled around almost daily, but Ray Meeks’ ciprian honey cathedral was consistently up there, always at (or very near) the top. The perfect lockdown book; a magnificent tour-de-force made entirely within the confines of a home.
The cover, we learn, is a poem/collage inspired by Nick Cave’s 'Rings of Saturn’, so I decided to look carefully through the book with the song on repeat. I recommend you try this... "And this is the moment, this is exactly where she is born to be. Now this is what she does and this is what she is." But where is this? And what is she? Therein lies the enigmatic nature of the work; it’s deeply, fiercely intimate, yet at the same time reveals very little, almost nothing. We’re used to photography’s descriptive strengths, its ability to show us what things look like, but Meeks’ book is so wonderfully restrained; a Delphian poem, a love song... or perhaps a dream, as Adrianna sleeps through so many of its pages.
At the end of the book, we find another (beautiful) poem, 'The Impossible House' by George Weld, which begins: "If I tell you about our house/ tell you so well that you can imagine yourself living in it/ it will no longer be my house.” And this is where I’m left, feeling I know the house, but I don’t; that I know Adrianna, but I don’t. Or, as I put my fellow Brightonian on repeat again: "And I'm breathing deep and I'm there and I'm also not there, and spurting ink over the sheets but she remains, completely unexplained.”
The Illusion of an Everlasting Summer by Alessandra Sanguinetti
Daleside by Cyprien Clément-Delmas and Lindokuhle Sobekwa