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‘Souvenirs of Sleep’ by Ling Ang

Momento Pro recently produced a custom format limited edition photo book for film maker Ling Ang. In this interview we ask her and designer Ned Rahmanovic about their creative collaboration, innovative book design and their choices on the photo book’s format and materials.

Singaporean born, Melbourne-based filmmaker, Ling Ang, has been journaling her dreams for years, and her upcoming photo book Souvenirs of Sleep is where she reveals them. Her limited edition book produced by Momento Pro weaves together photographs captured from her conscious world to illustrate the narratives of her subconscious mind. Here we interview Ling and designer Ned Rahmanovic about the book’s origins and playful design, and take you behind-the-scenes of its production.

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How did the book come to be?

This body of work is mostly text describing imagery. After my first print exhibition of the project, it made sense that a book should be made to allow the work to travel internationally. This was pushed further when my sister, Ying Ang, who also produces photo books and hosts the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive at Le Space Gallery, Melbourne, brainstormed the project for hours and the photo book idea evolved.

 

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What is the project about?

Souvenirs of Sleep combines journals of my dreams with photographs captured in my conscious world, to bring my personal subconscious narratives to life. It includes recurring themes from my childhood and relationships, including hedonism, trauma and the afterlife. Familiar landmarks turn into the locations of a sci-fi fantasy and I invite the readers into a private world of universal vulnerabilities, challenging them to explore their own inhibitions.

 

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How long did this project take to shoot, edit, design?

All the text was written over two years. The images I had shot in that same period were then curated and paired with the dreams. My sister Ying introduced me, and my project, to designer Nedim Rahmanovic who then worked on the book design for a year.

 

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Ned, we rarely see such innovative and unique combinations of photos with text, and we think you nailed it. Tell us how you did it.

It was definitely a collaborative process, as multiple creative minds are often better than one. As a designer, producing works in print presents an opportunity for me to play with tactility and materiality, and working on creative content warranted a ‘creative’ production process. Ling and I knew the ratio of text to images was high, so to add visual interest and break up the density of content we decided to transform snippets of the dreams into shapes or forms related to the dream itself – a creative solution for a practical problem!

 

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Ned, what advice do you have for designing a photo book?

Like any design project, it’s important to understand the book’s content and context and build a narrative or framework to act as a guide for all decisions about the project. In other words, figure out the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ will reveal itself.

 

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We thought the custom printed linen cover and transparent page inserts were the perfect package for your imagination and photography but what made you choose these specific papers and materials?

I know these options were outside Momento Pro’s standard range but I wanted to use materials that were most meaningful for my book. We chose to print the photos on transparent paper to act as a veil over the dream text underneath, and to give the reader a sense of the lucidity throughout the book – like a window into the subconscious. It also gave the photographs more gravitas. Although it was another custom finishing option, we felt that the linen cover matched the theme of dreaming too.

 

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How are you launching and publicising the book?

We’re launching Souvenirs of Sleep it in conjunction with National Gallery of Victoria’s Design Week and Melbourne Art Book Fair 2021 at two separate events on 27 March – a talk at Centre for Contemporary Photography, Fitzroy from 1.30 to 2.30pm and a 3D immersive experience, at Alex Theatre, St Kilda from 6.00 to 10.00pm.

 

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Where can we buy it?

The book is available to buy for AU$80 at souvenirsofsleep.com It will also be on sale at the NGV Design Store during Melbourne Art Book Fair, and at the events at CCP and Alex Theatre.

 

How was it working with Momento Pro?

It was incredibly reassuring to know that my work was in the hands of one of the best creators of photo books. Your efficiency and attention-to-detail made the whole experience feel personal and it felt that the work was given justice.

 

Thanks Ling, good to hear and we wish you all the best with Souvenirs of Sleep and your upcoming projects.

 

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