PHOTO Book Club – Annika Kafcaloudis' Book 01
For this edition of PHOTO Book Club, Angus Scott, Co-Creative Director of Photo Collective and Co-Curator of PHOTO 2024 Photobook Weekend reflects on Melbourne-based photographer Annika Kafcaloudis' first publication.
Having not spent a lot of time with Annika Kafcaloudis’ photographic practice, it is with great curiosity and limited context that I recently approached her monograph titled Book 01.
As an object the book leans heavily in two directions. It is at once delicate, and dense. It presents as a work about process and is physically reminiscent of a diary in that way. A meticulous recording. Critical, even.
Moving through the initial pages, signs of life begin to emerge amidst the brooding opening scenes. Birds, hands, eggs. Heartbeats within an otherwise cold and industrial visual landscape.
The anonymity of process, long shadows and obscured forms concoct associations to the earliest of human processes carried out from within caves by firelight. It all has me wondering if Annika is alluding to something inherent about our kind and making.
Through this tactility, the photographs construct a world where the artist is both inherent and removed. Rare exteriors are coated in disrepair, gesturing towards beauty being formed in the bowels of the thing, not regardless but in spite of the outside world.
Allegories of human life begin to present as long shadows and golden light form skin-like coatings across metallic objects. We begin to immerse in food production. Cheese, wine, fruit. Objects of opulence being formed in clinical environments, mass-produced cut open and staining surfaces red.
Amidst relentless industrial scenes, plant-life provides some much needed relief. Continuing to blur lines between the organic and the synthetic, electric yellow hoses resemble crop. As quickly as we emerge, we retreat again after a few short pages. Back into the cave.
Chains, steel wire, acts of binding solidify the claustrophobia we have been building towards. The story ends in a clean, cold environment. The completion of a long journey, far from where we started but tonally very similar. Cyclical.
I feel like I’ve taken a trip through Annika’s world. One bound to a life of making, perhaps questioning of it, certainly at times in celebration of it. The photobooks I enjoy most are the ones that allow me to feel as though I’ve come to learn something intimate of the creator. Book 01 provides this in spades.
Reviewed by Angus Scott:
Angus is an Australian artist living and working in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. As a co-Creative Director for Photo Collective, Angus facilitates programs such as Australian Photography Awards, Australian Photobook Awards and Stories.
He is an also editor and contributor to Photo Collective Magazine. Angus’ photographic and video works have been included in award programs such as Bowness, Iris Award and the Incinerator Art Prize. In 2021 he received the inaugural OD Prize from Open Doors Gallery, London for his project Teetering like a September myth and went on to publish the work as a photobook in 2022.