Welcome to the Seizing the Bygone Light Book Blog Tour, where we will be learning more about a delightful collection of photographs and poetry, which was created by three authors of the ProArtMo Collective as a tribute to early photography. This is a four day tour that will run through March 18, bringing you a guest post on Robbie’s Inspiration from the authors on what they strived to accomplish with Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography, an interview with the author’s by Barbara Spencer on Pictures from the Kitchen, and a review of the book by me to wrap things up, right here on Writing to be Read. I do hope all of you will join us in celebrating the history of photography along with authors Cendrine Marrouat, David Ellis, and Hayida Ali.
The medium of limitless possibilities that is photography has been with us for almost 200 years.
Despite its great advancements, its early days still influence and dazzle a majority of professional photographers and artists. Such is the case of Cendrine Marrouat, Hadiya Ali and David Ellis, three members of the PoArtMo Collective.
The result? Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography.
This unique collection of artistic styles brings together different innovative concepts of both gripping writing and stunning visual imagery.
Visual imagry can be a method of storytelling, and a powerful one at that when presented with a skillful hand. I know each of the authors has put much thought into the stories they wished to tell here, and how they wanted to do it. So, to introduce you to this marvelous group of original photography and poetry, I wanted the authors to tell you what they are trying to accomplish in their own words.
What inspired you to create this book?
All three of us were inspired together to celebrate the stunning vintage photography of the past and at the same time create an artistic project that shines a contemporary light alongside it, with our own individual blends of photography and poetry. This book allowed us to express ourselves in endearing ways that combine all of our passions and strengths. We wanted to collaborate in a way that would cause people to really become interested in the
images of the past and the endless rewards that they have to offer.
What makes Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography unique?
Our book looks back at the beginnings of photography in a way that has never been done
before. It is divided into three parts.
In part 1, Hadiya Ali has “recreated” the timeless photographic styles of Irving Penn and Karl Blossfeldt. Part 2 features some of Cendrine Marrouat’s reminigrams, a type of digital image that she invented years ago. Finally, in part 3, David Ellis shares a series of pareiku poems inspired by archival images.
Anyone with an interest in vintage photography has noticed how it documented the minutiae of
everyday life. Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography looks at that triviality
with a refreshed and positive outlook. It is one of the reasons why it is so unique.
The other reason? Three authors and artists whose vastly different styles actually complement
one another in a fascinating way.
(The Pareiku is a visual poetry David and Cendrine invented in 2020. For more information, visit
Did you face any particular issues while working on the book?
Yes, we did. But these issues actually helped make the book more interesting and unique than if just one author had worked on it.
Hadiya decided to recreate the timelessness of Karl Blossfeldt’s and Irving Penn’s beautiful photography. She quickly realized that the subjects and props she was supposed to use were not as widely available as before. She had to find substitutes, like ordinary plants and create her own props, which taught her valuable lessons about simplicity and creativity.
Cendrine struggled to select the images that would fit the book, until she found herself thinking about her emotional relationship with photography. The result was ten images that made complete sense together, gelling naturally with Hadiya’s photos and David’s poems.
David used archival images as inspiration for his poetic section. At first, he was a little unsure about which photos to include, until he realised that since every photograph tells its own story, there should be an unconscious thread that can link almost anything if you are willing to look hard enough to uncover it. He then made sure to select the most intriguing, engaging images he could find and let his subconscious mind make the necessary connections between them, which was very exhilarating in the extreme.
Why do you think poetry and photography work so well together?
Because they more or less speak the same language. It is all about the finer details and how they are interpreted. Photography, just like poetry, thrives on meaning and purpose; both disciplines require attention to subject matter and framing things in the right light if they are to be taken seriously. Both mediums are great at telling stories with minimal amounts of words, they connect instantly with our souls and move us, just like beautiful music, we identify with common struggles and the beauty of life as it unfolds around us.
What are your goals with this release?
We would love it if this book led to more people getting interested in checking out photography of the past. Digital images are fantastic, but exploring old and film photography leads to a greater awareness of what photography truly is and represents. The greatest rewards lie there.
Do you have any advice for artists?
Never give up! Make time for your craft, do many different things to feed your passions and above all don’t be afraid to put your work out into the world. If it sounds like someone is exerting their opinion rather than giving you actual independent advice, feel free to take what you need and ignore the rest to improve and evolve your work. Your work will never be perfect but that doesn’t stop you from always trying to make the next piece even better than the last, to the best of your ability, then move on and sincerely appreciate the art you have made!
What kind of book can we expect from you next?
We are always working on new ideas. This year, Auroras & Blossoms (Cendrine and David) plans on adding several more guides and workbooks for authors and artists to its list. Members of the PoArtMo Collective will also continue working together on more positive and inspirational books and themed exhibits.
When this book was brought to my attention, I was eagar to learn more about this unique collection of original photography and poetry, and as I learned more about the creativity and inspiration of its authors, I came to believe that Seizing the Bygone Light may be a very special collection indeed. If you would like to following along on this book blog tour to learn more, check in right here on Writing to be Read for guiding posts that will lead to each blog stop, or just subscribe to this blog for reader feed or email notifications.
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