Raymond Meeks’ ‘ciprian honey cathedral’ is a meditation on home and family, and it’s the sort of book I’d like to make, more or less. Looking through it makes me want to pick up the camera again, start looking again, and I know it’s impossible for me to make Meeks’ book, so the cameras continue gathering dust even though I know I’ll only make my book by making pictures…
ciprian honey cathedral came out in 2020, sold out quickly, and now commands rather high, if reasonable, prices… Many competent and talented reviewers already wrote volumes on it when it appeared, which probably contributed to its success, and I was blessed and fortunate, I guess, to have been in full on impulsive photobook-buying mode at the time, and now find myself the happy owner of a signed copy (signed on a slip of paper pasted into the back, as with many Mack books).
If you want to read a good review of the book, Loring Knoblauch at Collector Daily is always worth a read; someone named “petraasx” gave it the AmericanSuburbX treatment; and Patrycja Rozwora says similar things at GUP. What more can I add that hasn’t been said before by others or by me (see the opening paragraph)? Eh. Not much, really, but I like most everything about this book, from the song-lyric(-inspired) poem printed on the cover, to the dream-like sequencing (and repeated photographs of a woman asleep and, presumably, dreaming), to the general framing, and not to mention the rather masterful mixing of black & white photography in it. It’s a great book, of more or less the same sort and school of books that came out in the late 2010s, the sorta soft-focus personal looks at home and family, fairly dripping with the same nostalgia and sentimentality of which I’m horribly afflicted, and which probably won’t age well… And I don’t mean to pan or disparage Meeks or his book: I like it, for sure, and I recognize it as part of a particular aesthetic from a particular period.
Sadly, the book is only available used for about 150% of the original price or more, or new via German bookstores, but you can find many of the pictures from this, the Mack edition of ciprian honey cathedral on Meeks’s website. A look there reminded me about his halfstory halflife, which I reviewed here some time ago, and ciprian honey cathedral sits nicely alongside the earlier book. Text on the original artist’s book version explains the project some and says that it’s intended as the start of a long term project, and I wonder if I’ll be paying attention to and buying photobooks when the next part appears? Allahu alim (only God knows).