Jeniffer McClure‘s series You Who Never Arrived is a collection of photos reflecting her past relationships. And while I deeply felt for this series of women wearing the t-shirts of their lost lovers, and I could empathize with Laura Steven’s imagines reflecting the stages of letting go a relationship, You Who Never Arrived feels more emotionally complex. The photos are staged in hotel rooms, the men are friends and acquaintances, and taking this photos was for the photographer a process of understanding and letting go her own misunderstood emotional past. The project caught my eye because the photos are good and so painfully personal, but not only because of that. Recalling my past relationships trying to understand what went wrong is something completely foreign to me. While I can feel the pain and the discoveries this close look at the past can bring, the series made me realize I feel no need to reprocess any of my past relationships, and I also don’t think of them as ‘failed’. They are not failed, they somehow organically reached a natural end, and I feel it was no one’s fault.
I kept looking at the photos and I slowly became less captivated by how beautiful and cinematic these photos are, and more interested in understanding how one ends up carrying the past as a luggage. And why do we need to ask who’s fault it was? I guess the need to find the guilty and to blame the suffering on someone is only human, and also a bit childish because somehow it stops us from seeing ourselves and the other one as a whole, two wholes meeting together. In the process of finding the guilty, unavoidably one loses because one has to be the guilty one. And the whole endeavour stops us from understanding the relationship as a whole. I guess this is what these photos are, a step back meant to help understand more than to find the one to blame. In the end, the need to find who’s fault it was comes from a rooted idea that if only your didn’t do that, and if only I didn’t do that…then things would have been good. But is that really true?
For more photos and an interesting interview with the photographer, see Feature Shoot here.