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HOW MANY HOPES LIE BURIED HERE MOTHER | Remembering James Carter Irwin

How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here Mother Roelof Bakker Negative Press London 2016

The inscription on the headstone of James Carter Irwin supplied by his mother Jennie Carter Irwin was the inspiration for the title of the photo book HOW MANY HOPES LIE BURIED HERE MOTHER

On Sunday 31 July Roelof Bakker from Negative Press London launched his photo book HOW MANY HOPES LIE BURIED HERE MOTHER at the grave of Canadian soldier James Carter Irwin in Nunhead (All Saints) Cemetery in south London. He delivered a short remembrance speech and laid flowers on James’ grave in the company of close friends.

The photographs in the book show ages on headstones in war cemeteries tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The book is dedicated to James Carter Irwin and his mother Jennie Carter Irwin.

The speech is reproduced here.

Remembering James Carter Irwin, 31 July 2016 – Roelof Bakker

Since 2007 I have been working on a project photographing ages on headstones of fallen soldiers in cemeteries tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. I have photographed in cemeteries around Ypres in Belgium, municipal cemeteries in London and in Arnhem/Oosterbeek war cemetery near where I grew up in Holland.

I’ve come to Nunhead cemetery a number of times since 2008 and the first time I was here I noticed the epitaph on James Carter Irwin’s headstone and photographed it. These words kept haunting me over the years as I visited other war cemeteries and I came back several times to photograph this headstone. It slowly dawned on me that the epitaph summed up what my project was about, what I was trying to express.

Once I decided to take these words HOW MANY HOPES LIE BURIED HERE MOTHER as the title of my photo book and project, I wanted to find out more about the person whose gravestone this was and who it was who had supplied the wording for the inscription.

James Carter Irwin was a seventeen year old Canadian bank clerk from Ontario, who lied about his age when he enlisted the army in 1915. He joined the Princes Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in the field on 30 May 2016 near Sanctuary Wood in Ypres and was seriously wounded on 2 June 1916. He was taken to the UK to King George Hospital in Stamford Street, SE1 where he died on this day 100 years ago aged eighteen.

His mother Jennie Carter Irwin, instructed the inscription, asking the question herself, How Many Hope Lie Buried Here? (signed) Mother. We will never know, but I want to remember James and his mother Jennie today as I am now involved with them, they’ve inspired me, and as they’ve both become a part of my project I have dedicated the publication to both of them.

I feel honoured to lay these flowers on James’s grave and to pay tribute to both him and his mother.

Thank you James, thank you Jennie and thank you all for being here today.

HOW MANY HOPES LIE BURIED HERE MOTHER is available from the Negative Press online shop

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‘Placing Stones’ at Tate Modern Bookshop

Placing Stones Tate Modern bookshop

Placing Stones at Tate Modern bookshop

Happy to see Placing Stones by Martin Crawley in the Artists Monographs section at the Tate Modern Bookshop in London, standing tall next to the likes of Louise Bourgeois. Thank you, Tate Modern for supporting our press and stocking our books.

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‘Placing Stones’ | launch

Negative Press London returned to the Soho Collective in Moor Street, London W1, on Tuesday 24 February, for the launch of Placing Stones by Martin Crawley. The event included a moving recital by Martin of his text ‘Alistair’ and Stephen Wrench contributed a haunting reading of ‘Mercedes’ and talked about the book’s quality as a calm, meditative work, a non-shouting voice in a world drowning in noise and marketing slogans.

Martin Crawley, Placing Stones, Soho Collective

Martin Crawley (centre) at the launch of Placing Stones at the Soho Collective, Tuesday 24 February 2015

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Strong Room at London Art Book Fair 2014 | Whitechapel Gallery

Strong Room is represented by Kaleid Editions at the London Art Book Fair 2014 taking place at the Whitechapel Gallery, London E1 from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 September. More information here London Art Book Fair 2014 Strong Room

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Strong Room | Kaleid 2014

Strong Room has been selected for a curated exhibition showcasing the best new European artists’ books at KALEID 2014 on Saturday 19 July in London.

Fifty new European artists’ books were selected by David Senior, Bibliographer at MoMA Library, New York; Elizabeth James, Senior Librarian at the National Art Library at the V&A Museum, London and Sofie Dederen, Director of the Frans Masereel Centrum, Kasterlee, Belgium.

Elizabeth James, Senior Librarian, National Arts Library, V&A Museum explains:

“William Morris, Picasso, Sonia Delaunay, Ed Ruscha, Anselm Kiefer: many of the greatest modern artists and designers have excelled themselves in the book format. The book offers artists sculptural and temporal formats, collaborative stimulus, and the opportunity to reach an audience in a particularly intimate way. KALEID editions make a real contribution to the arts by encouraging today’s artists and designers to ‘do books’, in awareness both of the great tradition and of the now. It carefully fosters appreciation, distribution and conversation among artists, critics and collectors, private and institutional. Far from killing the book, the digital information has made it exciting. People want to mix with books in real space: book fairs spring up almost every week. KALEID 2014 is especially valuable in mixing work from across Europe into the British scene, selected for conceptual strength and excellence of making.”

The exhibition is free to attend, tickets are available through the website. KALEID 2014

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