Dor, September 17th, 2021.
I am finally at the end of a long journey, doing what I first wanted to do, then gave up : writing into this book.
Not that writing scares me, I actually like it. I live with the desire to write. I have already written and even published a few texts, especially on artistic matters.
But the idea of writing for this book, in the midst of my own photographs, brought up the problem of the relationship between text and image in art.
There are some nice combinations in filmmaking, but most of the time it doesn’t work. Poetry has created stimulating intermediary forms, certainly, but mainly on the sound side. In photography, the accompanying text is artistically useless to me. And the text/photography montage reduces the text to a graphic decoration. The notion of visual text offends me.
Visual text is a media tool, or a pattern. It is not text. Artistic or visual works that make use of text involve fascinating issues about language, about the sign, about communication. But the form of a text, which alone interests me, cannot be represented by its graphic appearance, text is not a visual experience. Sound can touch the form of the text with the voice, which is a reading. Sound can touch the form of the text through the reading. The picture can’t. I often take photographs containing text, but they are photographs. And I wonder about their meaning, about what they will become. All this to say that it has been impossible to produce a visual or illustrative text or even a textual text associated with the images.
I write, I do photography. But the two are unrelated.
So I will do my best to say as little as possible in those lines. But since I have to write a little, and since I’m here, and I’m well, I am going to tell you the story of the making of a photography book.
No need to say what it is about, since it is quite clear and universal. Here are a few key words: Childhood, motherhood, cocoon, growth, detachment. You will be the mother or you will be the child. At best, it will be your story, the one you already lived, otherwise you will close the book and move on. I don’t want to tell my own story. In fact, I don’t want these photographs belong to me anymore.
The purpose of this book is to let go these images.
Dor is extracted from a photographic archive that I have been building up since the birth of my children. Over the past fourteen years I have photographed my family’s daily life. It is more than 40,000 images sorted and classified into 150 albums, one per month, that systematically document, day after day, year after year, the metamorphosis of my children and my own as a woman going through motherhood and the home experience.
This archive is both expansive and private. In order to show these images, perhaps to be able to look at them, I had to turn them away.
Thus, I systematized a habit of re-photographing my own photographs and other documents.
I use it to archive all sorts of images, identity photos, Polaroids, photos belonging to friends and relatives, but also drawings, notes, etc. This practice of photographic reproduction has become Dor’s processing method. The original photographs have been taken between 2012 and 2020.
They were all rephotographed in 2021 for this book. Each image therefore has two shooting dates, two temporalities, refers to two distinct photographic ‘moments’. I believe they even have two authors.
The subject of this book are photographic prints, paper pictures.
The superposition of the photographic gesture across time has led me to reinterpret my own gaze, sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes in more emphatic operations, playing with shadows, making delicate or wild croppings, zooming in on micro details.
The title, Dor, is a Romanian word meaning a feeling that combines love and loneliness, desire and pain, attachment and detachment. In the mise en abyme of the family archives, Dor tells the story of a photographic obsession, the story of a changing gaze, of the need for detachment, of the childhood so brief, and, in the background, I believe, the anticipated nostalgia of the loss of my eyesight.
I ended up saying too much and I am getting angry with myself.
Dor is dedicated to Guilhem, Nour-Aliénor and Numa
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