I found Amadou Alpiniste at a used bookshop half a decade ago. It’s such an uncanny object, a story about a little boy that climbs a mountain alone carrying a metal cross to honor his truck driver friend who died struck by a thunderbolt while mountain-climbing.
It’s part of a series by photographer Suzi Pilet and writer Alexis Peiry, where Amadou goes bullfighting, investigates hit and runs, or almost dies carried to sea by balloons. The narrative is peppered with reflection on death, violence, and isolation, as seen through the eyes of a child.
The black and white photos and inscrutable doll amplify the surreal and somewhat morbid mood. They made me wonder why there are so few children’s photobooks nowadays. When images are such an integral part of social discourse and interaction, it’s weird that photography is almost gone from children’s books.
I wrote an essay about that absence, published in my collection of essays O Design Que o Design Não Vê (Design Unseen by Design). I’m thinking of translating it or writing a follow-up (and maybe applying Ariella Azoulay’s theory of the Civil Contract of photography).
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