The Blueberry Machine
Jan von Holleben and Monte Packham
Photographer Jan von Holleben and author Monte Packham have made a book for children in which master of invention, Olav, spends the day building fantastical machines for purpose and pleasure only to discover the most useful and creative machine of all. Set in the wonder-inspiring Norwegian landscape, the story is told in lively, playful verse. The photographic illustrations are themselves a kind of invention, each made with a photographic print and assembled objects that are re-photographed to create a convincing final image. The book is typeset in Andersen, a typeface designed by Thierry Fétiveau with young and dyslexic readers in mind.
The Blueberry Machine
Half-linen hardcover binding with photo-illustrated wraps; stitched book block; reinforced spine
30×20.5 cm (11¾×8 in.); 56 pages
27 color images
Photography: Jan von Holleben
Verse: Monte Packham
Book design and production: Nina Holland
Separations: Nina Holland
Printing: Nina Holland / Little Steidl
Binding: Harmut Köhler Buchbinderei, Rodgau
This book was printed on Little Steidl’s Roland 200 offset-lithographic printing press using a wet-on-dry process. One color is printed individually and allowed to dry for twenty-four hours before the next color is printed. Each sheet passes through the press eight times over a sequence of eight days.
About the Artists
Jan von Holleben
Born in 1977 and brought up in the southern German countryside, Jan von Holleben lived most of his youth in an alternative commune and identifies a strong connection between the development of his photographic work and the influence of his parents, a cinematographer and child therapist. At the age of thirteen, he followed his father’s photographic career by picking up a camera and experimenting with all sorts of magical tricks, developing his photographic imagination and skills with friends and family and later honing his technique in commercial settings.
After pursuing studies in teaching children with disabilities at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Freiburg, he moved to London, earned a degree in the Theory and History of Photography at Surrey Institute of Art and Design, and became submerged within the London photographic scene, where he worked as picture editor, art director, and photographic director. He quickly set up two photographic collectives, Young Photographers United and photodebut, followed more recently by the Photographer’s Office and the publishing house Tarzipan. His body of photographic work focusing on the homo ludens – the man who learns through play – is itself built from a playful integration of pedagogical theory with his own personal experiences of play and memories of childhood.
Born in Sydney, Australia in 1981, Monte Packham earned honors degrees in art history and law from the University of Sydney before joining the Steidl publishing house as Editor for English Publications. He lives and works in Berlin and Göttingen. Packham writes for both children and adults and is the author of several books including Concentric Circles (2010); ABC Photography (2016); Living with Matisse, Picasso and Christo: Theodor Ahrenberg and His Collections (2018), Book of the Year at the 2019 Collector’s Awards; Photo Adventures (2019), and Rhyme Time (2021).