Norman McBeath, Edmund de Waal
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From the publisher
The musical term perdendosi almost always comes at the end of a piece and directs sound, rhythm and tone to gradually fade and die away. ‘After the leaves have fallen, we return To a plain sense of things,’ wrote Wallace Stevens. Perdendosi is a collaborative work by photographer Norman McBeath with ceramicist, artist and writer Edmund de Waal. It is a study of leaves at the stage of their transformation when they have lost all colour, and become more like parchment than plant, taking up the most extraordinary shapes, giving the leaves unique identities and character. Many of the photographs were taken at the start of the pandemic in a time of daily news of increasing deaths and infections. Although not a direct response, this time had a profound influence on how Norman McBeath saw the leaves. Edmund de Waal’s accompanying text ‘Twelve Leaves’, which he describes as both autobiography and a journal of reading, is his own unique and moving response to living with these images for several months during lockdown. With a heightened awareness and increased sensitivity towards the natural world, Perdendosi offers a fresh perspective on the familiar.