Universal truth

by Camille Lévêque

Universal truth is a visual research through thousand of family photos, spreading from five decades and three continents. With this fragmented collection of intimate moments, chosen by the family to be remembered, I isolate obvious resonances in people lives and confront their posture, gatherings, hobbies or daily lives. Great moments of pride and random occasions are celebrated on the same level and chosen to be frozen in time and exist forever on paper.

One can easily notice the countless amount of similar family photos existing worldwide and how strongly they can relate to one another.

As if we were all the same person,sharing the same story, wanting the same simple things in life : happiness surrounded by our loved ones.

Since the apparition of the medium of photography – and before that with painting – families from all over the globe choose to document their life and their time together and the family photo album often becomes a holy relic, carrying the family history and with it, its past. It is interesting to note that mostly, if not only, happy moments are chosen to be physically remembered and shown. It is indeed rather rare to have visual documentation of divorces, death, arguments or other tragic matters that happen with great frequency in every family life.

With this detailed documentation of various family lives I aim to find keys of unity, elements of synchronicity. Witnessing such recurrences I question the use of photography and the spontaneity with which we choose to document our life. There seems to be a systematization of the photographic process and one can wonder if we document our lives for ourselves or for the others.

The exact same poses, settings, events are found again and again and one can wonder how staged our memories are.

On a worldwide scale these past years have seemed to tear us apart, and we appear more and more divided despite technological efforts trying to bring us closer.

With borders as statements, and in a global context of human chaos and social division, we need more than ever, to hang on to the things uniting us over the ones that divide us.

These photos assembled together gather families that never met, coming from different eras and continents. This somewhat chaotic memory puzzle reveals strong similarities in these people’s lives, and underneath the rough aspect of the assembly, appears the soft story of a universal bond.