What happens to leaves
When they fall off trees?
PHOTOGRAPHICALLY ILLUSTRATED RHYMING STORY
On October 14, 2023 during the 6th Apeldoorn Photo Festival the interactive storybook 'What happens to leaves when they fall off trees' (2023) was launched at Nawijn & Polak bookstore in Apeldoorn city, the Netherlands, where it is also currently available for purchase.
Originally developed in 2022 as a project during the MA Photography course at Falmouth University, this book was published in 2023 in 15 copies in which interactive elements are added by hand.
This book contains recycled paper, acid-free paper, handmade cotton paper and handmade artisan leaf paper. Interactive elements are added by using solvent free glue. The book is printed on a solvent-free paper and produced in an environmentally friendly manner in the Netherlands.
The book includes a short essay on photography in children's literature and a post-reading activities section with such fun tasks as photography hunt and creating your own pair images.
Statement of Intent
'What happens to leaves when they fall off trees?' is a photographically illustrated rhyming story for children inspired by my deceased daughter and Dutch nature. The project tells the unusual story of an oak tree leaf that seeks an answer to the question ‘What happens to leaves when they fall off trees?’.
When the coldest and dreariest days of the year come, it is time for leaves to end their active life cycle and make space for the next season's leaves. Similarly, all living organisms, including humans, have a certain life cycle to follow and it is only natural for one to wonder what happens after one dies. Explaining the topic of death to children can be a particularly difficult task that should be done in a gentle manner so that children see death as a part of one's life and are encouraged to think about their deceased family members with love and respect. This unusual tale serves as a starting point for a deeper discussion between an adult and a child around the topic of life after death.
Besides digital photographic images, the project includes also work done with other photographic techniques such as a pinhole body cap on a digital camera, reverse lens on a digital camera and a cyanotype print, as well as it includes work from other mediums like handmade paper and a nature sound track, allowing the playfulness and experimentation to further enrich the project and proving an opportunity for a child to interact with the book by actively involving visual sense in combination with textual information and auditory and tactile senses, achieving a more complex engagement with the book.
This project illustrates a story with bird and nature photography told in an anthropomorphistic manner, highlighting arbitrary connections in nature that lead to new meanings by combining, layering, cutting, adjusting, rearranging, decolourising, flipping and mirroring digital photographic images to achieve unusual combinations which the viewer can decipher together with the complementing textual information. The project also includes a digital pinhole image, reversed lens image, toned cyanotype, as well as it includes work from other mediums like handmade paper, organic matter and a sound track, allowing the playfulness and experimentation to further enrich the project, and providing an opportunity for children to interact with the story by actively involving visual sense in combination with textual information and auditory and tactile senses, offering a more complex engagement.