The debut book by artist and writer PJ Harvey, in collaboration with film-maker and photographer Seamus Murphy, emerges as a one-of-a-kind collection of poetry and images FINALIST IN THE PHOTO BOOK CATEGORY OF THE PICTURES OF THE YEAR AWARD
PJ Harvey has released eight critically acclaimed albums, been nominated for six Grammy Awards, and is the only artist to have been awarded the UK's prestigious Mercury Prize twice (for her albums Stories from the City, Stories From The Sea and Let England Shake). In 2013, she was awarded an MBE for services to music. The Hollow of the Hand is her first published collection of poetry. Seamus Murphy has documented life and change around the world in still and moving images. He has won seven World Press Photo awards for work in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Gaza, Lebanon, Peru, Ireland and England. His depiction of Afghanistan and the Afghans over more than a decade was published as a book, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan. He later made this into an award-winning film. In 2011, he created 12 Short Films for PJ Harvey's Let England Shake.
I loved The Hollow of the Hand, a distilled fusing of poems by PJ Harvey with photography from Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, DC by Seamus Murphy to make a powerful alchemy, one that broadens the vision * Ali Smith * Prepare to have your conscience shaken * Daily Telegraph * Precision and a sense of artistry ... Murphy's photographs have an ability to capture war without judgement ... An uplifting exploration of a brutal subject * The Times * Astonishing ... Mesmerising ... By turns harrowing, evocative, poignant and, yes, even humorous. Ultimately, the words and pictures are testament to undiminished human resilience ... Spellbinding ... Fascinating and occasionally disturbing * Sun * Excellent ... The imagery suggests an unhealing national bruise, one still so tender that blood might flow at any time ... At once celebratory and deflated ... The Hollow of the Hand is a sincere and sincerely impressive collection * Independent * Murphy's stories and films illuminate Harvey's crisply enunciated poems as well as his own arresting images ... Punchy and vivid * Guardian * Their combined reportage consists of a series of stark images, lyrical and visual ... Pictures of airstrike aftermaths, and Afghans with faces like novels **** * Evening Standard * A well-produced collaboration. Both contain striking imagery. Murphy - who has won seven World Press Photo awards - has an original eye and a storyteller's sense of an unfolding narrative * New Statesman Books of the Year * This book is as handsomely produced as its subjects are in dire straits ... Heartfelt and serious ... Every picture tells a story ... Murphy's eye unites one subject with the next. He is especially good at taking photographs of figures in a landscape overwhelmed by the vastness. I loved the extraordinary pictures of Afghanistan's beautiful, hostile and seemingly endless horizons * Observer * The Hollow of the Hand, P. J. Harvey's and Seamus Murphy's book of poems and photographs, is haunting and elusive. Lyrical, song-like, declarative, the poems have a devastating directness; the photos are direct in a different key * Times Literary Supplement * Careful reportage, combing the debris of war and strife for significant detail, meaningful resonances ... Charts a terrifying landscape of lost children and tidal waste, people discarded along with syringes and stray dogs ... She communicates what she's seen with crisp concision, a few strong charcoal lines **** * Mojo * A stirring art book for the rare soul who reaches back * O Magazine * Emphasises the resilience and continuation of life amidst immense turmoil ... Full of empathic insight and the central focus is on "common humanity" ... In her collaborations with Murphy, Harvey is not only asking difficult questions, but pushing against the restrictions usually placed on artists to stay within a certain remit or medium * Quietus * Extraordinary ... A remarkable portfolio of images shared with the audience that, at times, have the ability to draw out the humour in the haunting ... Deeply poignant **** * Morning Star *