JH Engström: Revoir

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In 2004, I made the book Trying to Dance, designed by Patric Leo and published by Journal. Since then, it has lived a life of its own, just as books should do.

For me, Trying to Dance is more than a book – the photographs on which it was based constitute an image universe of its own. Photography then had a liberating effect on me as a visual artist. I lived mostly in New York, but also in Värmland, Sweden, and travelled a lot in the United States and Europe. Mentally, I was in between worlds, between realities, between the urban and the rural. This was also a period when I questioned and doubted the importance and relevance of photography for me – actually. The freedom I so strongly experienced in the process of making Trying to Dance, largely answered my doubts and became a compass for my continued creativity.

To start with, I was not at all certain when Gösta Flemming at Journal, Patric Leo and Christian Caujolle, suggested going back to the Trying to Dance negatives. But when I started looking through the files – so many images, so many that were not used in Trying to Dance, and so many new combinations that hit me; it was then that I decided that we should publish Revoir.

Revoir is a completely new book, a revision, a revisit to that period between the mid-90s and the early 2000s. The book has been made in close and enjoyable collaboration with all the people that I worked with on Trying to Dance. Around two thirds of the photographs have not been published before. For the first time I have scanned the negatives, together with Ewa-Teréz Gölin, and allowed the present to guide me in the printing for Revoir.

Christian Caujolle has written a text for the book. This makes me especially happy, since he was the first to whole-heartedly embrace and recognise the photographs then, almost 17 years ago.

/ JH Engström

174 b/w and color images • Text by Christian Caujolle • Translation to English: Frédérique Destribats and to Swedish: Gösta Flemming • Editing: Patric Leo, JH Engström, Gösta Flemming • Design and layout: Patric Leo • Co-published with Akio Nagasawa Publishing • Hard cover • 225 x 280 mm • 244 pages • French/English/Swedish • 2016

Shortlisted for International Center of Photography's Infinity Award 2017 in category Artist Books, New York.

Shortlisted for Prix du Livres 2017, Arles, France.