“Gorgeous life” is a book that I developed working with an archive of photography. This archive documents three generations of a family, non-related to me, that lived in Romania. The oldest images are dated 1906 and the latest are dated mid eighty`s, with a small number of digital images realized after 2006. The material I focused my attention on in this project, documents the last descendants of this family, that stopped it`s blood line with a man that appears often in the images as a young boy.
My work around the archive is determined by the missing emotional connection with the content of the archive, or at least this was the case when I started. I am working with the photos of a family who has no descendent alive anymore, no one to translate the imagery into events, no one who can enrich the story depicted through the pictures with information that is not present in them. The scarcity of facts surrounding the lives of the people photographed makes it hard for me to establish a linear timeline throughout the archive but in the same time liberates me from the rigors of the biographical approach on it. Missing the context, I focused on the visual qualities of the images, on the facts that are revealed in the pictures alone. In this work I used the images that are immediate that are multiple variants of the same moment. I compiled these images in long composites that mimic the celluloid strips of motion pictures, even though they cannot be used as such. I produced panoramas that compress time in the same photo. Using images that have similar background I expanded the time frame depicted in some of the strips from seconds to minutes to years. I went through a long process of reduction of the photographical material, in working with this archive.
The object book I produced quotes the unwinding of a film spool in a filming device. The entire esthetic of the object is inspired by the old photographic machinery. Naming this work a book and also using this array of esthetical choices transforms the object into a temporal capsule. The handcrafted look gives a hint about the precious nature of the content, or maybe gives a certain reading of the content as being precious. The process of fabricating has visible marks embedded in the book’s casing reinforcing the idea of hand craft, of development of the object in time, with effort invested in it, quoting in a way the dedication and the love needed to realize an intensive photographic documentation of one’s life.