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Work / Publication

Late Spring Books on the challenges of representing freedom on the page

Founded by artist, publisher and rare book dealer Tamsin Clark, Late Spring Books is the “mysterious companion” to her collaborative book-making practice with artist Richard Bevan – with whom she makes books about cinema. Their imprint, Setsuko, is named after Japanese actress Setsuko Hara, and Late Spring Books takes its name from the same root: “_Late Spring_, directed by Yasujiro Ozu and starring Setsuko Hara, is my favourite film (as well as my favourite time of year)”, says Tamsin.

Of what inspired her to found Late Spring, Tamsin says: “When I’m setting about making a book I do a lot of shopping! It’s a process of accumulating a bunch of stuff, being curious about what’s available already. Hoarding becomes a way of immersing oneself in the subject”. And along the way, she’s found a wealth of special books, artworks and editions: “Late Spring Books is really a catalogue of unusual books sprung out of my own research: things that have really stuck with me, which I wanted to share and circulate.”

As in her book-making practice, the focus for the rare book dealership is rooted in cinema. “Especially the work of Chris Marker, who was an extraordinary writer, editor, designer and publisher; but also printed matter relating to Japanese culture, typography, a little bit of poetry and experimental writing”, Tamsin says. “Travel is also a theme running through [the collection]. Chris Marker’s book Coréennes, about North Korea, is imagined as a court métrage, or short film, with its chapters intended as small journeys. I love the idea of the book space being a place that you move through; I wanted the atmosphere of the Late Spring website to have the feeling of transporting you somewhere, as the books do.”

In representing the books online, Tamsin has also been considering ways to represent that same sense of freedom the works themselves have. “I’m experimenting with ideas of how to represent the physicality of the book object online – to do that warmly and creatively”, she says. Of her influences, Tamsin namechecks the GeoCities websites and the labyrinthine island Chris Marker created on Second Life: “At the moment I feel that Late Spring Books is an endeavour close to how I approach making things: I’m still curious and tinkering with the practice of rare book dealership, feeling my way with it”.

Tamsin recently released the first Late Spring Books catalogue, with books dating from 1954 through to 2017: “they’re not necessarily the most valuable or iconic things, but nevertheless items that I feel are very beautiful”, she says. The collection features a 1950s pocket book discussing the origins of popular song in France; an expanded edition of William Klein’s New York book; Agnes Varda’s photobook on the French Riviera; a signed chapbook of prose pieces by Laurie Anderson; and a complete set of Chris Marker’s Petite Planète travel guides, which include photographs by Agnès Varda, William Klein and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

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Courtesy of Late Spring Books

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Courtesy of Late Spring Books

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Courtesy of Late Spring Books

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Courtesy of Late Spring Books

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Courtesy of Late Spring Books