We were asked by the publisher Kris Graves Projects to make a book of Amy Elkins series Anxious Pleasures, containing 377 self-portraits, one taken every day during COVID-19. The cyanotypes confront the boredom, anxiety, grief, fatigue, and fear of living in indefinite isolation during a global pandemic.

Our design approach echoes the strange passing of time, and the layers of emulsion in Elkins’ cyanotypes, through fragments of poems, printed on translucent cyan paper, both sides of the type are seen, the normal and the mirrored. The book’s thickness is balanced by its small size that is intimate when held and its dusted blue edges and blue thread give an atmosphere of stillness.

Kris Graves Projects
472pp, 5.1 x 6.5 in.
Artist: Amy Elkins
Text: Joy Sullivan and Amy Elkins
Design Direction: Caleb Cain Marcus