Looking For Alice is an award-winning project by British photographer Sian Davey, which tells the story of her daughter Alice and their family, and all the joys, tensions, ups and downs that go with the territory of being in a family. Trolley Books are proud to be publishing a beautiful photobook of the series, and are asking our supporters on Kickstarter to pre-order a copy of the book, or other pledges, to support its production and make it possible.
Looking for Alice is a photographic story told by a mother about her young daughter Alice. Alice was born with Down's Syndrome, but is no different to any other little girl or indeed human being. She feels what we all feel. Their family is also like many other families, and Sian's portraits of Alice and their daily life are both intimate and familiar. “My family is a microcosm for the dynamics occurring in many other families. Previously as a psychotherapist I have listened to many stories and it is interesting that what has been revealed to me, after fifteen years of practice, is not how different we are to one another, but rather how alike we are as people. It is what we share that is significant. The stories vary but we all experience similar emotions.”
However despite the normality, the underlying fact is that society does not acknowledge Alice as such, and her very existence was given little or no value. She entered a world where routine genetic screening at twelve weeks gestation is thrust towards birth prevention rather than birth preparation. Indeed, prior to the introduction of screening, children such as Alice would have been severely marginalised and ultimately institutionalised and given little or limited medical care.
Their journey as mother and daughter was not an instantly smooth and happy one either: “I was deeply shocked when Alice was born as an 'imperfect' baby. I was fraught with anxiety that rippled through to every aspect of my relationship with her. My anxieties penetrated my dreams. On reflection I saw that Alice was feeling my rejection of her and that caused me further pain. I saw that the responsibility lay with me; I had to dig deep into my own prejudices and shine a light on them. The result was that as my fear dissolved I fell in love with my daughter. We all did.”
There will be an introduction by David Chandler, renowned writer, editor and curator in the fields of contemporary photography, photographic history and the visual arts, and also Professor in Photography at Plymouth University.
Looking For Alice will be a very special and beautiful book, and we will produce it to the highest quality and finish with cloth hardbound cover, foil-blocking and printed at our printers in Italy to highest possible standard. Our designer is Emma Scott-Child who has worked on some beautiful publications in the past, including a monograph by artist Rachel Howard, and was previously at Damien Hirst's publishing house Other Criteria. It is ours and Sian's aim that the book is an object that people will want to treasure.
Specs of the book
23 x 27 cm
hardback clothbound and foilblocked cover
Tatami 135 gsm matt coated paper
We aim to publish Looking For Alice during Paris Photo and at The Photographers' Gallery, London in November. With your support on Kickstarter, and by pre-ordering copies of the book and other pledges, you will make this beautiful publication a reality.
Many thanks to you all in advance!
Director, Trolley Books
Sian Davey is a British photographer based in the South West of England who recently completed her MFA in photography at Plymouth University with Jem Southam and David Chandler. Sian’s background is in Fine Art and Social Policy. She was previously a psychotherapist for 15 years. This year her work has been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, the Daylight Photo Awards, the Bar Tur Book Award at The Photographers' Gallery, Fresh Faced + Wild Eyed at The Photographers' Gallery, the 33rd Annual Juried Membership Exhibition, Houston Centre of Photography, the Finalist Renaissance photography Prize, and The Fence Brooklyn Houston Atlanta. Looking For Alice is her first book.
David Chandler is a writer, editor and curator, in the fields of contemporary photography, photographic history and the visual arts and currently Professor of Photorgaphy teaching the MA course at Plymouth University. He was Director of Photoworks from 1997 to 2010, where he initiated a major series of site-based commissions and over thirteen years worked closely with a range of very different photographers and artists, and developed a particular interest in the practice and process of book making, something underpinned by his firm belief in the book as a primary site for the photographic image. Recent collaborations include an audio/visual project with the composer Ed Hughes, and recent essays on the work of Paul Graham (Steidlmack), Jem Southam (The Lowry), David Spero and Helen Sear (Ffotogallery).
Established in 2001, Trolley Books publish a diverse range of titles presenting unique stories in photography, photojournalism and contemporary art. In particular Trolley has championed the work of many photographers often publishing their first book, including those of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Paolo Pellegrin, Alex Majoli, Stanley Greene, Nina Berman, Robin Maddock and Alixandra Fazzina. In 2005 Trolley Books received a special commendation from the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards for its outstanding contribution to photography book publishing.
"Looking for Alice came to our judges attention during last year's Firecracker Grant. It shone for its unflinching look at contemporary family life - the highs of course, but often more importantly, the lows. It's a time honoured visual story, but one that often crosses over into the saccharine or romantic. Davey's considered approach manages to avoid this and transform the highly personal into a narrative we can all relate to."
Fiona Rogers, Firecracker Grant for European Women Photographers, and Global Business Development Manager Magnum Photos
Risks and challenges
This is the third Kickstarter campaign Trolley Books have done to support and fund one of our publications. We fully appreciate the support of our backers and understand the responsibility we have towards bringing the campaign to completion with the finished product, in the projected time frame. Therefore we have always communicated with our backers about any potential delays in the production of a book and have kept to our word as much as possible! The result has been two very beautiful books - 'Trolleyology' and 'Marching To The Freedom Dream' by Dan Budnik' - and we very much hope that our new campaign for 'Looking For Alice' will be a similar success.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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