The Leaping Place • Matt Shallenberger (softbound)

The Leaping Place • Matt Shallenberger (softbound)


Regular edition of 444 copies, signed and numbered. 10x14", softcover, 40+ color plates, 20+ b&w plates, + archival images, essay/interview, and excerpted pieces of poetry and research.

The book is comprised of 60 photographs, alongside vintage images and graphics, excerpts from the referenced poetry, and pieces of my notes. In overlapping sections, the book are black-and-white images from the Azores and the Big Island, and color photographs depicting remnants of infrastructure, invasive and native species, and the Big Island's varied landscape. In many cases my photographs are set pposite archival images of the same locations.

The Leaping Place is a series of large-format landscape photographs, exploring the relationship between family, history, and mythology on the Big Island of Hawai'i. The images are meant to tell two stories: First, of my own family. In the 1880s, my mother's family left the islands of Sao Miguel and Madeira and travelled by steamship to Hawai'i, settling mostly in the Hamakua district of the Big Island. The work for these photographs began by building a path of exploration around their records and recollections. I looked for the remnants of the industries of which they were a part.  I followed the clues of their own photographs and their home movies. This series is a way to connect with their history and to explore the landscapes behind their stories.  

Second, of the Kumulipo, the ancient Hawaiian creation chant, from which the images draw many of their symbols and structure. The chant-tellers (haku mele) used layered symbols, transposed characters and hidden meanings to tell the stories of the cosmological beginnings of ancient Hawai'i. These landscapes are also the scenes of the myths of the Kumulipo, and I drew inspiration from its forms to tell a personal myth in a similar way.

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