The Altogether is the latest book by London based photographer Chris Coekin. The photographs were produced in a factory that began manufacturing copper wire in 1834. Unfortunately, the factory recently closed and the entire workforce was made redundant. The Altogether is a multi-layered project that investigates the notions of art, work and struggle. The book comprises three series of images and is accompanied by a seven-inch vinyl record that includes two audio tracks: Days at The Factories and CuSO4 Shuffle.
The Altogether are staged portraits of the employees of the factory - the backbone of the production. Coekin found his inspiration in the iconography and theatricality of Trade Union banners. Manufactory Pt I investigates the overlooked industrial space where a collision between nature, toil and the manufacturing process has occurred, resulting in a formation of a geological micro-environment. Manufactory Pt II (aka Made in England) are studies of old manual tools that Coekin found. These actions took on the process of an archaeological dig and the artifacts that he unearthed became metaphors and symbols of a 'lost work force.' Days at the Factories and CuSo4 Shuffle synthesise sounds from the factory and feature recorded spoken word from the factory workers. Collaboration with a music producer has resulted in a more refined melodic and musical interpretation of these sounds.
The photographs are reproduced on hand-folded gatefold pages running concurrently through the book including a text written by Coekin. The cover illustration is foil printed and embossed onto cloth, these processes pay homage to the craftsman.
Chris showed me a copy of The Altogether at last year's Paris Photo. The book is stunningly conceived, exactingly realized and is a superb object in its own right. What's more it is totally authentic and continues Chris's thoughtful examination of the heartland of industrial Britain. This book is certain to be on many of this years top photobook lists. You can buy a copy of The Altogether HERE and see more of Chris's work HERE.
Read Colin Pantall's review of The Altogether in photo-eye Magazine.
If you go to Joerg Colberg's YouTube site, HERE, Joerg has just posted a visual run through of The Altogether, together with his commentary.
The Altogether, by Chris Coekin, Walkout, 2012. 124 pp., 28x4 page gatefolds, 27 color illustrations, 8¾x6¾".