Photobooks

Photographing the Story from a Diary Dating to 1726

Images from the series An Authentic Relation © Marianne Bjørnmyr, courtesy The Photographer's Gallery

In 1726, a diary found on the barren and desolate South-Atlantic island of Ascension. Norwegian artist Marianne Bjørnmyr's transformation of the diary into a new photobook, titled An Authentic Relation, is about to launch at The Photographer's Gallery, London.

The diary was found to belong to the solider Leenert Hasenbosch, who one year earlier was left as a prisoner on the island as a punishment for sodomy.

The diary contains detailed descriptions from the first day of his arrival until the last day of his life, six months later. The book was brought to England and has since been published in several versions; the story has through time been fabricated and twisted several times.

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The photobook is a result of a series of trips to Ascension Island, accompanied with the original diary.

In comparing the modern reality of the island to the increasingly mythologised story captured in the diary, Bjørnmyr’s work “question our ideas about history, not as fortified facts, but as possible fiction.”

The book navigates between text and images, “forming an incomplete experience of the story; the connections between photography, text and object but separated by history and time.”

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Bjørnmyr references the different fragments of a story, an abstraction though which the viewer can independently create the narrative and story.

The work is also being shown at the exhibition Shifting Focus at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin from 14th July, and a Norwegian book launch will be held at Bodø Kunstforening 28th Aug.

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The book was funded by Arts Council Norway, Norwegian Photographic Fund (Nofofo) and Norwegian Visual Artists Association.

Marianne Bjørnmyr is a Norwegian artist, living and working between Bodo, Norway and London where she received her MA in Photography from London College of Communication in 2012.

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Marianne’s notable exhibitions include Daniel Blau’s 5 under 30, The Norwegian State Exhibition “Høstutstillingen” and The North Norwegian Art Exhibition.

She was earlier awarded the Juvenarte and Jansons Scholarship, and, in 2015, was one of the FATHOM Residents at Fours Corners film in London.  In 2016, she recieved the Norwegian State Artist Grant for 2 years.

An Authentic Relation will launch on Tuesday 23rd August, 2016, at The Photographers Gallery, London.