The Photobook Advent Calendar – Dec 24th

This year, in the true spirit of Christmas, we’re doing the Miniclick Photobook Advent Calendar where we’ll look at a different photobook, newspaper, magazine or ‘zine we like by someone we’ve worked with in the last 12 months, right up until Christmas Day. To view the Advent Calendar picks so far, click here.

Day 24 – December 24th

Mark Power – MASS

We kicked off 2013 in style by asking Mark Power to come and give a talk for us at our Brighton base, The Old Market. It was one of the busiest events we’ve done, with around 100 people packed into the bar, sitting, standing and crouching on the floor at his feet whilst he took us through his whole career. We worked with Mark three or four times more throughout the year and he’s been a big supporter of Miniclick. Now, on the 24th Day of The Great Miniclick Photobook Advent Calendar, and on Christmas Eve, what more fitting book to look at than MASS…


“MASS began while the Power family were living in Krakow during the autumn and winter of 2010-11. I wanted to make a new body of work in Poland, in the wake of The Sound of Two Songs, but with a more specific (and intimate) subject matter.

I was drawn to a religious theme in spite of – or more likely because of – being a lapsed Catholic.  Finally completing the work in late 2012, MASS seeks to investigate the phenomenon of the Polish Catholic church and an intensity of faith which appears to cross borders of both class and age… often in settings of spectacular beauty.

Photographed from the ‘Organista’ (the raised area at the back of the church where the organist sits) during busy services, each ‘Mass’ image is paired with a close-up of a ‘slot’ found in the same church, into which the congregation are encouraged to put what little money they might have.” 

I’ll start off by saying this is one of the most beautifully put together books I’ve seen. It’s the fourth book we’ve featured from new, independent publishers GOST Books, and it was one of the first ones they realised. It’s a series of paired images – you flick through it as you would a normal book and you see photos of the donation slots from a series of Catholic Churches around Poland. When we fold open each of these images we’re presented with a grand, large scale photo of the interior of the same church, during mass (it’s worth watching this video from Mark to see how this works).

The binding involved in this must have taken a while to perfect (it’s rumoured Mark and GOST had to patent the binding method…), not to mention the printing (it’s perfect), but it’s not just a gimmick. The interiors of the churches warrant being printed large. The benefit from it and indeed they need to be printed this large. It allows us sufficient detail in the images to contemplate and spend time looking into them. Any photobook that you can spend a good few minutes on each page is doing something right.

What’s interesting about the interiors shots (especially given my architectural training) is the different styles of architecture we see. The scale remains pretty constant across the various churches, but we see the very traditional to the pseudo-futurism of the 60’s and 70’s. The Catholic church isn’t commonly known for it’s forward thinking attitudes, but I love the architecture so many of their places of worships adopted in the mid-century period up to the mid 70’s (which at the time, and even now to an extent, was considered experimental and belonging to a brave new world). This is a book that can be enjoyed on any number of different levels (much like a lot of GOST’s output).

The book is listed on the GOST website as sold out, but I know there’s a few copies out there in gallery booksshops (try The Photographer’s Gallery) or on eBay. It’s well worth looking out for it!

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