Dull Ache is a personal project created for the New Zealand Photobook Fair in Wellington in March 2020, produced in collaboration with Otago poet Jasmine Gallagher. It is self-published through back_space_books.

“As for me, I see both beauty and the dark side of the things … and I see them at the same time … The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception: mono no aware. It means “beauty tinged with sadness,” for there cannot be any real beauty without the indolic whiff of decay.” Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

These words really resonated with me when I was making Dull Ache, the Japanese phrase neatly summing up my thoughts. This is a book of interconnecting words and images, the poetry is fragmented. These fragments are brought together to form one long poem that meanders through the pages, forming the conversation with the photographs. The images are quiet, and while made in a period of grief, they are not an expression of sadness but a moment for pause.


This form of ecoGothic poetry responds to the hope found in nature, as a source of solace: where death is revealed not as an ending, but as a crucial part of the endless cycle of regeneration.

The dust jacket unfolds to a secret image, a secret garden, a place of contemplation. A postcard with this image is also included should the reader be willing to share their own thoughts, extending the conversation.


Then you eventually learn to
swim in it and find it can carry
you to a place where there is
salty déjà vu and the uncanny.
There are angry bees for a
time, yet this will pass and the
weaving and spinning will be
resumed. You have familiarised
yourself with the bedroom
walls, ruin porn and post-critical
theory. Grown to love the decay


Book design & photography / Fiona Lascelles
Poem /
Jasmine Gallagher
Self-published
/ back_space_books
@bad_poetry_nz
@back_space_books
@fionalascelles
Available at https://www.strangegoods.co.nz/collections/photography/products/dullache2

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