One dead One alive

Photography, Text
Edit 2010 – 2011
Photographs 1983 - 2011


The photographs I took from my father over the years were motivated by me trying to figure out my relationship with him.
I had no intention to turn them into a piece about the relationship between photography and death.
One I took from him when I was about eight years old, so it obviously was taken without any photographic concern whatsoever.

The gaze of the person depicted gets frozen and thus appears to be the gaze that meets the gaze of the recipient. So in one picture you look through the eight – year old eyes of me at my father, who looked at his eight – year – old daughter.

According to Roland Barthes  “Camera Lucida”, all photography has something melancholic because it is always about a moment in the past, thus a reminder of death.

“I read at the same time: This will be and this has been; I observe with horror an anterior future of which death is the stake. By giving me the absolute past of the pose (aorist), the photograph tells me death in the future.“

The pullover that my father is wearing in one of the photographs also points towards the past as well as the future.
The pullover was saved from the trash bin since I liked it at that time (me, around nineteen or twenty years old).
Then I downgraded it to something I would wear while doing a painting job or the like.
Now, I think, I will hold on to it for a long time without using it as something that can be messed with.
So the pullover has a similar connection with the past and the future – something a man was wearing who by now is dead and I still can wear tomorrow.

My feelings towards the photographs from him changed a lot after his death.

Only after his death the melancholia Barthes described was something I actually saw.
Not that much different to how I feel about the pullover.
The only difference might be that the pullover does simply not appear to gaze at you.