Ellie Brown Photography/ Altered Books
Tender TrapTeen WitchWord BookSupermarket CookbookCentury Collegiate HandbookThe Dog Next DoorGowns of GloryHe MannersHow to Win FriendsTechniques of ExpressionThe Liberated LadyThe Ability to LoveLove Can Say NoThe Bad BoyHappinessMy Secret GardenMan, the ManipulatorDrinking and What to Do About ItNervous AccompliceTrouble After SchoolUpper RoomNew Basic CourseOh Careless LoveNot Made for QuittingProm TroubleThe Golden HawkThe Unknown Mr. BrownThey Fought for the SkyThe Hunter and the TrapBoys Book of Science and ConstructionSay DarlingThe Sensuous WomanTents of WickednessThe Great Male Conspiracy Vanishing AdolescentHow the Jewish People Grow UpGive Love the AirGirl TroubleVoices From the Tape
A Chronicle of Lovers
The year I turned 30 was a year of deep introspection. I spent many hours contemplating the experiences that shaped me as an adult woman. One of the major factors in the shaping of my personality has been the men I have had as lovers and / or boyfriends. They have taught me many things about myself and about how I relate to others. The Lover’s Books project was started in homage to each of the men I have slept with. Each man has a book and then a digital print of the book in his name. The books are based on my impressions, memories and experiences with each man, regardless of whether the experience was positive or negative. I have contacted the men I’m still in touch with to share my altered book version of our affair. In my e-mail, I explain that the book is an earnest evaluation of my memories and not in any way meant to degrade, attack or humiliate them. Many of my e-mails with the man’s book image have gone ignored. Most of the responses I’ve received have been positive with the men feeling mostly flattered. Only one response to the project has been negative. In this, the man told me he did not care to read the book.

My previous bookwork has typically have been a reflection on the books' cover and my political, visceral or instinctual reaction to it. I have made these books to recontextualize the meaning of the book and create my own in its place. They are typically displayed on a shelf so that the viewer can open them. The pages of the book are glued together and only one altered page is viewable. In representations of the work, the left side represents the cover and the right side represents the only viewable inside of the book. To remove the meaning of the book cover and collage one step further, I’ve begun to make Archival Epson Prints of the books as they appear in the slides. The digital prints maintain the thee-dimensional quality of the books with all rips, cut windows, ribbons and other textures showing in great detail. The prints remove the option of the viewer touching the piece but instead allow a new visual dialogue between the cover and the collage. I will continue to present the work both as altered books and prints either together or separate.

Hardcover books are approx. 6x8” and soft cover books are approx. 4x5”. The print sizes range from 13x19 to 30x40 and can be shown independently or in companion with the altered books. The titles of the pieces are the titles of the books.

Most of the books I’ve chosen to alter reflect antiquated or stereotypical ideas about gender and sexuality. The books evoke a range of critical feelings in me that go from bemusement to anger. My collaged alterations challenge and mock the ideas presented on the books’ cover and with its original content. I do this in a way that creates a new text to soothe my questioning of the books’ original context. This lets me regain control of the content to suit my own views about gender and sexuality.

The left side of the slide image represents the cover of the book and the right side shows the only viewable inside. The current manifestation of this work is in the form of Archival Epson Prints ranging in size from 13x19 to 20x26”. The prints look exactly as the slide images do, preserving most of the dimensionality and texture of the book through the scanning process. The prints remove the meaning and context of the book one step further making them a complement to the books that they are derived from.

These images represent a portion of the project. To see the entire project, please contact: ellie@elliebrown.com