Photobooks at the Camera Store in 2020 were fewer than in previous years. I curtailed purchasing new titles as COVID-19 limited browsing. The physical transfer of photography in our favourite medium, the book, unlimited by surveillance and power, lasting and sensual, was a victim of COVID. The silver lining, if there is any, is that my purchasing focused on local books, and personal passions. I argued years ago in school that publishing is best when it follows a bottom-up model. This year, we had the honour of keeping stock of books made locally that are thrillingly world-class offerings, by young, exceptionally talented, sensitive photographers. So, in that light, this is my favourite list of books that I have published in the last seven years.
I’m reading a book that I have out on what looks like an indefinite loan from the Calgary Public Library called “Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas”. It’s a historiographic collection of materials and essays; one, in particular, has held me in sway. The essay is entitled “Thresholds of Meaning: Voice, Time, and Epistemology in the Archaeological Consideration of Northwest Coast Art”. It illustrates a new set of methodologies that parallel ways of thinking from Ancient Greece. Ideas about continuing time versus the instant moment, as expressed in the differential between Chronos, and Kairos. Heady stuff, ok, but what I love about this book is it caused me to hold my ideas up to a lens I am unfamiliar with.