And when I thought a photo series cannot get more bitter-sweet than Mark Nixon’s Much Loved, I discovered Ron Warren & Arne Svenson’s Chewed. No big philosophy, just a series of dogs’ second best friends: chewed stuffed toys.
All posts tagged bitter-sweet
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.
Glossy magazine-like, Rob MacInnis‘ photos of farm animals point at two issues: the way we consume images, and the way we consume these cool fury guys. I find the images bitter-sweet. I’m not so touched by the consuming images issues, but certainly touched by the thought of the ‘real life and destination’ these animals have.
On a slow Sunday evening, you just have to see this emotional and nostalgic short animation about the bond between a father and his daughter. Father and Daughter is a Dutch animation made in 2000 by Michaël Dudok de Wit, and the same year it won the Oscar for Animated Short Film. The drawings are minimal and seem made in charcoal and watercolor. The story is beautiful and sad. And the soundtrack is probably one of the most well known Romanian tunes, a waltz called Waves of the Danube, composed by Ion Ivanovici in 1880.
My most precious possession when I was 3, was a clown named Micky. He was made of that kind of synthetic velvet that can give you goose bumps when you run your hand on it. He was half blue and half orange and his head was made of rubber. One day, he lost the rubber head. No one knows what happened to it. But to the stupefaction of my entire family, I loved him nonetheless. At a point, my mom tried to replace him with a new identical Micky. But – and this is something that defined me since I was tiny – I never cared for identical replacements. I cared for the headless Micky who had all the stories.
Did you every look in the eyes of a dog and think he looked like a boy in the body of a dog? I did. Many times. And these photos bring back those feelings. (I think it’s called to anthropomorphize, can you pronounce it?). Perhaps because photographer Martin Usborne reenacts his childhood fear of being left behind in the car. Or perhaps because the quietness and loneliness of these dogs, waiting for their master, is simply beautiful and expressive. Animals in general, and dogs in particular censor nothing of their feelings, and Usborne projects human worries, sadness and restlessness in their bitter-sweet portrayals.
Some years ago, I was in the train traveling from Amsterdam to The Hague, and the train stopped in Leiden. I was sitting in the last wagon and I remember looking outside the window and seeing at the end of the platform, a young man, crying. I can still see that image, what he looked like, the way he was sitting, inconsolable. I remember because I could almost feel what would be like to hold him and feel his warm strained body. And I had the same sensation when I first saw Carla Richmond and Hanne Steen‘s project Lovers’ T-shirts.
Have you ever noticed how many stories an object from your past can tell? How those stories become alive once you rediscover an item long lost? We live our lives surrounded by objects and they’re not just things, but significant things. They absorb our lives. And they keep it there for later remembrance. And this photo project is the best illustration of this.
I discovered Marius van Dokkum in a postcard shop, between mountains of ‘happy birthday’ and ‘get well soon’ cards. I found out later that Dokkum’s cards were made after his paintings.