Dublin, Ireland-based photographer Mark Nixon got the idea for his new book, Much Loved, from his son, Callum, who has formed a deep attachment to a Peter Rabbit stuffed animal. In his introduction to the book, Nixon writes about his appreciation for Irving Penn, who for his “Street Material” series of still-life images took street trash and cigarette butts and photographed them as art. “The idea of making an everyday object, something so familiar that it’s invisible, become visible again appealed to me,” writes Nixon.
He invited people to bring or send their “much-loved teddies” to his studio to be photographed. To his surprise, he writes, many of those who responded were adults. “It was as though they had been keeping a long-held secret and could finally tell someone what their teddies really meant to them,” Nixon recalls.
In the book, released last week by Abrams, each of the 65 color photographs is captioned with the name of the bear (or bunny, or giraffe), its age, and an anecdote from the animal’s owner. “The stories and memories became integral to the photographs,” Nixon writes, “adding significance to them and bringing them to life.”