Paper Lighthouse by Keavy Handley-Byrne
Published Saint Agnes Studio, 2023

Essay by Margaret Sartor
Design by Cara Buzzell

Perfect Bound Paperback, 56 Pages, 6” x 8.75”
Digital Offset & 1-Color Risograph
Printed & Bound by Conveyor Studio
Edited by Jessina Leonard & Keavy Handley-Byrne
First Edition, Edition of 40



“She was notorious, my mother says, for blinking or closing her eyes at exactly the moment the shutter released. There are only a few photographs of my grandmother that I can call to mind and fewer still where her eyes are open. I began collecting photographs of other women with their eyes closed, trying to find what I could of my grandmother in their faces.”
– Keavy Handley-Byrne

In Paper Lighthouse, the artist Keavy Handley-Byrne brings together found images of women with their eyes closed: accidental archival photographs tossed aside before there was a delete button. “But accident always plays a role in photography,” writes artist and writer Margaret Sartor, in her essay included in the book. “Because it is precisely in the unpredictable and unintentional details of a photograph that the magic of the medium flourishes.”

Referring to the New Brunswick town in which Handley-Byrne’s grandmother grew up, known for its lighthouse, Handley-Byrne departs on a wayfinding journey towards their grandmother through the interior world behind these womens’ eyes – a world, as Sartor writes, that is “as large and unfathomable as the Milky Way and as private as the scenes that play out in these pictures.”

Keavy Handley-Byrne (born 1991, Rochester, NY on unceded Haudenosaunee and Onöndowa'ga land) is a photographic artist and writer who lives and works in New York City (unceded Lenape and Canarsee land). They hold an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from Purchase College, SUNY, both in photography. Keavy’s work addresses issues of queer identity and gender, with a particular focus on finding joy in the wake of trauma and loss, and they have a particular interest in appropriated and collected imagery and its use as a narrative tool to create alternative histories. Their work has been exhibited across the United States, including the RISD Museum (RI), Photographic Center Northwest (WA), ClampArt (NY), and is included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. They currently teach photography at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ; Purchase College, SUNY, Purchase, NY; and The International Center of Photography, New York, NY.

Margaret Sartor is a writer and photographer. Her books include Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum 1897–1922 (with Alex Harris), What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney (with Geoff Dyer), Gertrude Blom: Bearing Witness (with Alex Harris), and the New York Times best-selling memoir Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing up in the 1970s. Sartor’s photographs have been exhibited widely and appeared in numerous publications, including Aperture, DoubleTake, Esquire, The Oxford American, and The New Yorker, among others. Her work is in permanent and private collections including: the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Ogden Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the North Carolina Museum of Art. She lives in Durham, NC.

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