The Poetry of Lost Time
This medium-format photo book with a black-and-white photograph of a country road running across the front and back of its hardcover presents the fascinating work of the previously unknown autodidact Anne-Marie von Wolff (1893–1974). Almost 200, often square, black-and-white photos from the mid-twentieth century are arranged on a double page, mostly in pairs and in identical width with a white margin. They depict everyday scenes of family life spread across several locations and summer resorts from the perspective of an outsider who, as a sufferer from epilepsy and tuberculosis, wasn’t sent to school and was rarely even allowed outdoors. Between the photo pages are texts containing reflections of the editor (the photographer’s great-grandniece) and extracts from conversations with family members. Some of the double pages with photos contain isolated, rather poetic lines of text interspersed with individual full-bleed colour photos of empty rooms taken by the editor. The choice of images and the combinations on the double pages are both subtle and poetic, the layouts as uncluttered as they are elegant. This is an archive book that also tells a family story from the lost world of a social class.