Art Photobook Reviews

Leaving and Waving by Deanna Dikeman

I was so rooting for this to be the winner of the Mack First Book award for 2020, when the publisher announced the list and posted teaser images, along with all the other shortlisted work, but alas not.

As it turns out, Mack’s loss was to be Chose Commune’s gain, the book was picked up by the French publisher who have done a superlative job in realising Dikeman’s work and finally bringing it to print.

Leaving and Waving was released in March of this 2021, and needless to say I preordered it the moment I saw the announcement.

It is already being reprinted.

This heartwarming and heartbreaking study of love, family, and loss is a reminder of what awaits all of us in the fullness of time.

Shot over a period of twenty seven years, what began with a simple photograph to capture a moment, rapidly turned into something of a ritual for Dikeman, as it became her way of dealing with the sadness of parting.

However the cruel truth is that years pass, and inevitably time and fate make choices and decisions for us.

Dikeman’s simple premise seems as much a letter to her audience as it is a personal memoir.

In watching the physical bond between daughter and parents slowly being eroded, we feel the intangible grip of memory gently but firmly take its place.

However, should that memory cloud, it is comforting to know that an alchemical solution of silver salts in gelatin, when applied to paper, will ensure a sense of permanence for both photographer, and those that follow.

Beautifully designed, with different coloured paper stocks placed at key points throughout the book, this gentle and moving book is without a doubt one of the finest of the year.

So whether you’re standing on the porch, or sitting in the car, when the moment comes, always remember to wave because nothing is forever.

Highest recommendation.