My latest photobook review is up on Youtube. It's of The RestorationWill by Mayumi Suzuki, a personal exploration of the post-tsunami family photography that Suzuki found washed up in her father's darkroom, ravaged by the waters that took her parents away.
This is the family album as nostalgia, but this is also the family album as memorial because both her parents died in the tsuanami and that story is told in the book and through the album from Suzuki's final phone call to her parents to the images that show her father's ravaged darkroom.
It's a typically expansive work (and I'm still waiting to get tired of that RPS expansiveness but it hasn't happened yet) but so touching with a degree of resolution found by the end, her parents finding solace in the azure night shimmers of the same waters that took their lives.
The Restoration Will is a descriptive title, and one that speaks of how we construct, or here reconstruct, our families in the image of the images that we have of them, that we find of them, that we retrieve of them, and ultimately that we imagine of them. It's what I did with All Quiet on the Home Front, but with a leaning towards the battered British landscape, it's what I'm doing, in a different way with My German Family Album. It's what we do with images, it's a central function of them. And even when we think we are not doing that, when we reject the nostalgic and the emotional, then that is just another construction - it's all made up, and Suzuki does it beautifully. With feeling. And with touch. And with fragility.
You can buy the book here. It's a special one.