May 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
Pre-post: As I am writing this, I am listening to Loreena McKennitt’s The Lady of Shalott, and I suggest you should do the same while reading me, if you feel a bit melancholy tonight.
I must share this series of photos by English photographer Kirsty Mitchell, who shot the pictures in memory of her mother who was a teacher and a storyteller. She chose to tell her story through fairytales. The colours are vivid and the feelings compelling. It is a magnificent interpretation of Wonderland, vibrating with intensity.
A whole literature survives through these pictures.
> To view the entire gallery, please visit Kirsty Mitchell’s very nice website.
> And there are also many “behind the scenes” selections, one in particular dedicated to the costumes behind “Wonderland”, that are completely stunning.
All her art transports me into her magical universe, half-dream half-nightmare, for there is always a darker twist in her photographs, I feel. The stories that accompany them confirm this impression… As if magic was not free, as if there was always a price to pay.
May 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Not long ago, I was in Marseille enjoying the various installations and exhibitions organized there for Marseille-Provence 2013 (Marseille being the European capital of Culture this year). There I discovered a short photographic exhibition of Delphine Balley‘s work, a French photographer from Romans (south of France).
L’Album de Famille (“The Family Album”) was quite an experience. Although only some of the pictures were exhibited, the series was quite captivating. In this collection of photographs, Delphine Balley stages her family after a fictional event: her own death (by assassination). This is the starting-point for a narrative that will allow interpretations and distortions of family stories.
Set in a traditional French house, the photographs convey a feeling of oppression and strangeness more than anything else. But at the same time, the images are meticulously arranged, so that every little detail seem to tell their own version of the story. The family history here seems to become legendary and symbolic through a narrative close to the detective story (someone is trying to find out who killed Delphine and why – and the answer must lie in the darkest corners of the house).
The series possesses a sense of the macabre, of course, since it is all based on the artist’s death. But most of all, through its blind characters, it evokes the sensation one can feel when prisoner of one’s family. It is interesting to note that the series is marked out with either translucency or obstruction (e.g. The transparent child or the husband-hider), so that (clear)vision is never easy. Masks are everywhere, elements indistinct, thus suggesting that secrecy lies in the corners of the family house. Of course, every family has its secrets, as is well known.
Delphine Bailley’s photographs embody the uncanny in its most literal sense, since the familiar becomes completely strange through the prism of her lens. It is all the more captivating than the family is twice, if not thrice, exposed (as in a mise-en-abîme) to observers: to Delphine Bailley herself, to her interpretation through the camera and eventually to the eye of the stranger who enters the cracks of a hidden story.
To read a short presentation of the series: http://www.delphineballey.com/l-album-de-famille/
And to view the full gallery and the fictional short story of Delphine’s death (in French): http://www.delphineballey.com/l-album-de-famille/galerie/
May 1, 2013 § 1 Comment
Thanks to my friend and somewhat mentor lilzeon, I just took part in an original project about feet. Yes, you read it well: feet.
The Feet Project aims at exploring the universe of human feet and the way people relate to their feet. Some love them, others don’t. Some are aware of their special relationship with them, some aren’t. And does a shoe-shiner relate to feet the same way a dancer would? Or a shoemaker? Or a sportsman? Some people are also fascinated by feet, some don’t care. Feet become an object and prism of social reflection.
The project is collaborative: anyone can subscribe a picture of their feet and attach a story about them. Tell the team how you feel about these 5-fingered extremities propping at the end of your legs. The final output of the project will be a social documentary about the relationship people nurture with their feet – depending on their state of mind, profession, physical condition… It is a sociological study in this sense, and by reading the Why this project? section, you will better understand why.
Taking part in the project made me realise 2 things.
First, how much we neglect our feet. I mean, they are there. We wrap them in shoes, we wash them, we walk with them, but do we really stop and contemplate them for a second, thinking how strange life would be without them? They take us – people who are lucky enough to have two healthy feet – everywhere: walking, but also cycling and running as far as I’m concerned. In the introduction of the project, it is very truthfullly written:
It’s strange how often we overlook our feet. It takes a conscious effort to look down at them, to consider their significance. We’re too busy thinking about how to get from A to B, it seems we forget about the feet that are getting us there.
Second, I also thought it was a very peculiar experience to actually focus and tell about my feet. As a result of the lack of attention we bear to our feet, it is also quite challenging to say something about them, to formulate clearly how we feel about them. Or maybe this is just me? For some people really love their feet and have no trouble talking about them conceptually. I had to sit for a while and think. Which kind of picture would best represent them and tell the relationship I have with them? I didn’t want something as mainstream as the holiday feet on Instagram (I forgot the name of this “trend”). I had the feeling that people actually talk a lot about shoes, but not necessarily about feet themselves, except for reflexologists or podologists maybe. The reason for this might be that shoes are separated from the body, while feet are not, and paradoxically, we tend not to be aware enough of what pertains to our own body.
And actually when I found the right cliché, it became obvious that my feet couldn’t be separated from their shoes. I love being barefoot (I’ve grown up barefoot for the longest part of my childhood). But shoes, they protect and shelter feet. They also make them socially beautiful. And above all, feet+shoes take me in places, which is why they make me feel comfortably free.
(To view my contribution, it’s here.)
To take part in The Feet Project and submit, please go there: http://www.feet-project.com/submit
To follow the project on Twitter: @feetproject