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Call and response in Erik Kessels & Thomas Sauvin’s latest photobook

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Comprised of 120 vernacular images from the two photographers, TALK SOON creates new conversations with each page turn, reflecting their lockdowns

Communication has kept many of us going through the Covid-19 pandemic. The internet can help bridge the gaps between us, grounding us in the lives of others. This global communication usually takes the form of speech and text, yet the role of the image cannot be forgotten in this daily call and response.

“At the very beginning of the lockdown early last year, I invited China-based Thomas Sauvin to start an image conversation with me,” explains Erik Kessels from Amsterdam. “I would send him one image, he would answer with another one, and so on. We used no words. Two months later, we had a dialogue of 120 images. It’s a weird mixture of the east and the west, yet each image has a good reason to be there, as it answers the previous one.”

With additional phrases – in text form – from Kingston Trinder, co-founder of the book’s publisher, Atelier Éditions, the archived exchange found its home in the form of a tearaway postcard photo book. Each ‘page’ is divided into two postcards, which turn individually, allowing for thousands of combinations of image and text and creating new conversations within the book. Talk Soon converts image-based dialogue into play, a narrative reimagined with each page turn.

Talk Soon is available to buy here.

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.

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