I had already shown my body of work to Martin Parr at the workshop I attended in Sicily during the summer, but he had only seen the individual prints, not the book. One of the things he commented on was the amount of text – he felt there should be less. Martin felt that there should be only one press article per page, but I wanted to keep the narrative more open. My solution was to address this in two ways: the book does have less text, but still more than one article per page; but the text presented on translucent overlays to better integrate with the images. I was keen to show the completed book to Martin in both its large and low-cost versions.
We did the portfolio review by Zoom and I set up two cameras so that I could show Martin the book in detail while still holding a face-to-face conversation with him. Martin admired the book – he liked the images and the concept of reproduction with linen. Although he had spent some time living in Ireland and has a retrospective tour of his Irish work coming up, he was not aware of the history of the linen trade and its colonial connections.
He still felt that there was too much text in the book, but I am happy now that I have the balance right. He did ask me for a copy of the book to put in his library at the Martin Parr Foundation, which I was obviously pleased about. While on that subject we briefly discussed my earlier book 100 Women 100 Years which I had shown him in Sicily, and he agreed to include a copy of that book in his library too.
Martin suggested I approach the Seamus Heaney Centre and the Belfast Exposed gallery with a view to exhibiting my work. He gave me contact details for the director of each and said I should mention his name when I contacted them. This should be an excellent opportunity to get some attention for my work.