BOOK REVIEW: You an Orchestra You a Bomb by Cig Harvey (Schilt Publishing)

Scout in the Blizzard, Rockport, Maine, 2017 © Cig Harvey 

Cig Harvey’s third monograph, You An Orchestra You a Bomb, is a vibrant and bold book. Possibly her most beautiful to date. It explores the photographer’s relationship with life itself. It is a book about paying attention to and appreciating the fragile present.

You an Orchestra You a Bomb captures moments of awe, makes icons of the everyday, and looks at life on the threshold between magic and disaster. Cig has always experienced the world viscerally but a raw heightened awareness of the temporary nature of life permeates this new work.

Through breathless moments of beauty, her images propel us to fathom the sacred in the split-seconds of everyday. Cig’s photographs are interwoven with her intimate poetry in this hauntingly beautiful book.


How can a book be like a dream of all the images you wish you’d taken but hadn’t?

I was sold already by the front cover, beautifully clothbound in mustardy Norfolk yellow, but inside I was treated to so much more. It’s not often a photobook excites me enough to make me want to drop it on the floor and run out of the room to grab my camera, to search out something wonderful to shoot and share.

Pouring over the pages, noting the wonderful juxtaposition of images, delighting in the colour, the play of light and the subtleties, reading the snippets of text over and over as if they were long lost poems. It’s all poetry.

Cig Harvey has such a way with images and with words that the hairs will stand up on the back of your neck, you’ll feel the goose bumps raise on your arms, and you’ll wonder when you can get to living more, when you can slow and take the time to be present, and when can you make images as poetic and resonant as in this book.

In You An Orchestra You a Bomb there is something about freedom, about appreciation, about the beauty in the mundane that is truly far from mundane, and there is so much that I want to share in.

I want to meet Cig Harvey, to thank her, to sit down at a table and drink tea with her, slowly. But instead, I’ll just keep this beautiful book nearby and let it be a constant reminder to keep looking.


You an Orchestra You a Bomb by Cig Harvey
Published by Schilt Publishing
Hardbound with linen cover
144 pages with approx. 80 photos in full colour, 22.5 x 22.5 cm
ISBN: 9789053308936


You an Orchestra You a Bomb was reviewed for Shutter Hub by Karen Harvey.