“Dark Archives,” a photo book published by Image Text Ithaca Press, has been shortlisted for two prestigious, international awards — the Rencontres d’Arles Image-Texte Book Award and the Aperture-Paris Photo First Book Award.
The book is a collection of writings and photographs by artist Andre Bradley. Combining his own photography with childhood photos, “Dark Archives” is a reflection on growing up in poverty as a young black man in Philadelphia, how Bradley sees himself, and how the world sees him.
“It’s so exciting, especially with this book,” said Catherine Taylor, an associate professor in the Department of Writing and co-director of ITI Press. “Andre is an amazing guy, and it’s opened up a lot of new opportunities for him as an artist.”
Bradley was a visiting artist at an Image Text Ithaca workshop in summer 2015. He and other participants were asked to bring an unfinished piece of work, and Bradley brought a box of old family photographs. Over the course of the workshop, he combined them with his own photography and short pieces of writing about his family, creating a slideshow. Taylor and co-director Nicholas Muellner were blown away by the work and decided to publish the collection as a book.
Taylor and Muellner hired a designer, Elana Schlenker, and she and Bradley collaborated to make a series of booklets and single-page inserts in a foil-stamped, die-cut folder. Taylor likens it to an archival portfolio of Bradley’s life.
After publication in 2015, the book has been displayed all over the world and sold online, at museum gift shops and art book fairs. The initial printing of 250 copies sold out, and it is now in its second print.
Taylor is hopeful that the book’s positive reception will open up new opportunities for ITI Press and Ithaca College’s Image Text MFA Program, which welcomed its first class of students in summer 2016. MFA students work with the press and get the experience of curating and editing, as well as working with designers and editors. “They get to see the book through from start to finish,” said Taylor.