Chrystia Mycyk (DP)
My work to date in the field of photography has centered primarily on the art of portraiture. I have always endeavored to capture the physical presence of life, the experience of living, on the faces of my subjects. It is my intention to explore this same focus in my works of antiquated books. Whether it is through inscriptions, weathered paper, fine bindings, or well-thumbed pages, books, like faces, display evidence of the passage of time. All of my photography is hand printed in black and white on archival fiber based paper, bleached, and then toned for preservation purposes.
RARE BOOK SERIES
Having secured permission to photograph the National Library of Canada's extensive collection of rare books, I have a more than sufficient wealth of material available to me. M. Michel Brisebois, chief curator of the National Library of Canada's Rare Books Division has agreed to mount a show of the first phase of my work in November 2003. It is then our intent to create a traveling show of these works. Today books struggle to remain culturally relevant in a technological age.
Television and the World Wide Web threaten to become our primary source of communication and entertainment. Books are becoming the remnant of another time. It is books, however, which continue to communicate the most enduring stories and knowledge. My work depicts the book as a valuable art form that has, and continues to contain, the thoughts and artistic strivings of humanity. My project coincides with a renewed interest in books among historians and literary scholars. The History of the Book in Canada project, funded by the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is one of many international book history studies underway.
My vision of a body of images exploring the book in photographic terms will bridge the gap between our technological world and these scholarly concerns.