Signatures de livres
Maja Daniels
Elf Dalia
London, 2019
“If you follow the river north from Mora, you will reach a community with a dark, insular spirit,” is the opening line to Maja Daniels’s book Elf Dalia, a multifaceted and beautifully crafted story of the Swedish valley of Älvdalen. In this valley, the near-extinct ancient language of Elfdalian is spoken. In the 1600s, Älvdalen also gave rise to a string of witch hunts across Sweden. Daniels intertwines her own photographs with those found in the historical archive of local inventor and photographer Tenn Lars Persson, whose images documented local folklore and astronomical phenomena. “The book is impressive in its ability to create a haunting connection between historical and contemporary images,” notes Christoph Wiesner. The book is printed beautifully on matte paper, and the design’s simplicity enhances the photographs. With no text or image credits on the pages, the authorship of this story is intriguingly blurred. Ultimately, the work succeeds in evoking the feeling of a place through the lens of two photographers that lived centuries apart.