Carol Mavor/ Annabel Dover

Like Weeds by Carol Mavor / Painting, cyanotypes and drawings by Annabel Dover

(Excerpt from the Market Project book- find out how to buy it and read all the commissioned texts in full here.)

Once upon a time there was a blue-girl named Annabel who lived in a small village in the north of England. Her skin was neither blue, nor did she have indigo hair, like Pinocchio’s ‘Blue Fairy’. But she loved blue and dreamed of blue. She had ginger hair and was affectionately called Red Squirrel.

Annabel studied nature vehemently, so Red Squirrel was a fitting name, if the wrong colour. This Girl-Naturalist was a botanist, a zoologist, an entomologist, a lepidopterist, a geologist and an ornithologist. Once she saw a Hoopoe outside her cottage. Her mean-spirited father would not believe that she had seen this magnificent little bird with its zebrastriped tail and a crest that rises like a feathered Native American war bonnet (Hoopoes are rarely seen in England). But the doubting man was forced to believe Annabel when the story made the papers.

Her father’s name was Hector, but he was known as Bluebeard his beard being so black that it appeared blue. He was ugly, although his beard had an otherworldly, magnetic beauty. Hector was relatively well-off; without Bluebeard, the girl and her beloved granny had nothing, save for their gift of each other and a mutual love for the natural world. The three of them lived together in a long, damp, thatched house with a huge carved fireplace. There was a bee’s nest in the thatch. There was a locked room that Annabel had always been very frightened of.

Carol Mavor is Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. Mavor is the author of four books: Reading Boyishly: Roland Barthes, J. M. Barrie, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Marcel Proust, and D. W. Winnicott, Becoming: The Photographs of Clementina, Viscountess, Hawarden Pleasures Taken: Performances of Sexuality and Loss in Victorian Photographs and Black and Blue: The Bruising Passion of Camera Lucida, La Jetée, Sans soleil and Hiroshima mon amour. Her essays have appeared in Cabinet Magazine, Art History, Photography and Culture, Photographies, as well as edited volumes, including Geoffrey Batchen’s Photography Degree Zero and Mary Sheriff’s Cultural Contact and the Making of European Art.

Mavor’s writing has been widely reviewed in publications in the US and UK, including the Times Literary Supplement, Los Angeles Times, and The Village Voice. She has lectured broadly in the US and the UK, including The Photographers’ Gallery, London, University of Cambridge, Duke University and the Royal College of Art. For 2010-2011, Mavor was named the Northrop Frye Chair in Literary Theory at University of Toronto. Currently, Mavor is completing Blue Mythologies: A Study of the Hue of Blue (forthcoming from Reaktion in 2013).


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