Stay Still!

Stories, Nov 10

KIDS WAITING FOR THEIR PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE TAKEN


Found in Barcelona


This is a small collection of the old photographs that I have collected throughout my years of traveling. The very first photo (the one that inspired my search of dusty old boxes in antique shops) was a beautiful piece I’ve found in a small antique shop in Ljubljana. It wasn’t just the composition that took my breath away, nor the fashion of the two ladies and the cinematic look of the photograph. It was the kid who took all of my attention. And he is taking up merely one third of the frame, holding a thin branch as a contrast to the one on the lady. By the expression on the child’s face we can see that it’s not easy to make a child act in front of a lens. Especially in the past where one had to wait a long time for a single shot.



Found in Ljubljana

Found in Barcelona 


There is a reason why I started collecting old family photographs. I’m interested in the reaction of the kids and the uncomfortable state of being photographed, which I’m sure, especially in the past, is equal to an act of fascism. We can notice the fascistic logic in the body language of the kid who's standing straight still with an uncomfortable grimace on his face. It requires the child to stop doing whatever he enjoys doing at the moment.



Found in Lisbon


Found in Skopje

Maybe you have all heard about The Family of Man, one of the most popular photography exhibition curated by the American art gallery and museum curator Edward Steichen. For the first time it premiered at MoMA, the exhibition was visited by 9 million people from 37 countries. The intention behind this curated exhibition is to show post-war life. Photographers from 63 states contributed their work, showing the lives of the everyday people living worldwide. The reason why I’m mentioning these photography project is because of the strong intention of the exhibition to show the well-known universal themes through the faces of the unknown individuals in the photographs. In a response to this exhibition, Roland Barthes writes an essay about what he believes is wrong with The Family of Man. In his text, he is using the French translation of the original name of this project, which is The Great Family of Man. He believed that this name „could originally pass for a phrase belonging to zoology, keeping only the similarity in behavior. “ He is opposed to the very idea about what this exhibition is telling; that we are fundamentally all the same. Barthes is acknowledging the fact that we as people are all different. „A tree is a tree. Yes, of course. But a tree as expressed by Minou Drouet is no longer quite a tree, it is a tree which is decorated and adapted to a certain type of consumption, laden with literary selfindulgence, revolt, images, in short with: a type of social usage which is added to pure matter.“




Found in Lisbon

Being different and unapologetically you is a lifestyle that kids understand much better than the adults. Kids show revolt in these pictures simply by being impatient. They are rebellious models that are not interested in the culture of preserving the past, but in the nature of the moment. If their bodies are adapting to the fascistic logic that asks them to stay still, their faces are the giving of the opposite. It's as if their bodies are living in the politically mistaken past and their faces are showing a new, bright era: an era where no one should stay still.



Found in Skopje

Mark


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