In the forthcoming issue IV of Tiny Pencil, Cape artist Steven Harris has contributed and we thought we’d give you a sneak peak this Friday. Below are his thoughts on writing for the next issue’s theme: Death and Resurrection.
Pondering the theme of ‘Death and Resurrection’ for Tiny Pencil issue IV I found myself drawn further and further into Victorian death portraiture. To modern eyes, at first glance it seems peculiarly macabre to prop up a dead relative and take their photograph, in some cases as if they’re in the midst of a happy family gathering (the corpse’s expression often seeming to articulate a feeling I know all too well from family gatherings I’ve attended myself). More ghastly still are the photographs taken of dead infants or children, sitting in their Sunday best often beside shell-shocked siblings. With babes-in-arms it was sometimes necessary for an adult to sit under a blanket and hold the child in place, which looks for all the world as if Death were dandling them on the knee prior to leading them gently away. These pictures are shocking and have a horrible humour which is hard to deny. Yet, the more I looked at them - and came to understand the reasons behind them - the more poignant they became. During the Victorian era photographic portraits were within the means of the middle classes only as an occasional luxury. If a child died it might never have had its likeness captured and the period before burial was the only chance. It is somewhat unfair that, in trying to avoid the morbidity of taking a photograph of a dead person, bereaved families strayed into the stranger territory of making believe that the corpse were alive and well and living it up in Clapham. After all, the limitations of the art at that time rendered everyone stiff and staring. The desperation in the act is heart-rending but there is a further shock: everyone in a Victorian death portrait is dead and, ultimately, all our photographs are of ghosts.
Watch Joe Sacco's fresco of The Battle of the Somme come to life -
Installed from 1st - 31st July, the huge fresco in the Montparnasse-Bienvenue metro station depicts the first day of The Battle of the Somme. It spreads over 132 metres and is 4.7m in height.
Random page from a random book: Vignettes of Ystov, William Goldsmith, p. 34
Random page from a random book: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, Stephen Collins, p. 18
Over Under Sideways Down, a comic book story of a refugee fleeing conflict, by Karrie Fransman.
The comic, produced in collaboration with the British Red Cross, has been created in celebration of Refugee Week 2014.
Over Under Sideways Down is a story about the real-life experiences of, Ebrahim Esmail, a young Kurdish-Iranian refugee who embarked on a harrowing journey to begin a new life in the UK when he was just 15 years old. It is a story of resilience in the face of persecution. It is a story about losing everything you know and love. It is a story about survival and finding the strength to start again.
Hope you hadn’t forgotten that it’s ELCAF this weekend! We’ve got a table, which will be laden with goods so pop along, buy a book, say hello, have a chat and all that. We’re looking forward to seeing you!
Aaaand, tickets for events are now on sale too. Chris Ware, Seth and a load of other amazing illustrator types will be in talks and workshops throughout the day. Have a look at ELCAF’s ticket page for details.
See you on Saturday!
Random page from a random book: Polina, Bastien Vives, p. 28
Illustrator Q&As? Behind the scenes stuff? Whatever it is, tell us what you want to see on here - we’re open to suggestions!