Robert Mapplethorpe – Champagne (1977)
The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
Source unknown – Title unknown (201X)
I have no idea where this image comes from but I absolutely love it.
It’s partially an aesthetic thing. Customarily, I’m not a fan of close-ups–to my way of thinking they excise too many crucial contextual cues/clues.
An acquaintance who attends the same monthly book club I do and is currently pursuing a Philosophy PhD has pointed out to me that she doesn’t completely buy my objection as she seems something valuable in close-ups ability to essentially build a context that allows one to see the foreign in the familiar.
I counter that this sounds an awful lot like those awful activities in children’s magazines where they show a close-up of the pattern on a manhole cover and invite the reader to identify the object they’re viewing.
She’ll fire back with Suren Manvelyan as an example of how an identical framing can serve as an impetus for the creation of art.
And I get tripped up because I don’t know whether I’m inclined to suggest her example is the exception that proves the distinction I’m drawing or if due to the dual notion of infinite–i.e. both the set of all real number extending in both negative and positive directions endless, while also the endlessly divisible space between any number in the above set–that Manvelyan is actually terribly disingenuous to the spirit of the initial premise. (Yeah, I know: I’m insufferable.)
A third thought occurs to me writing this now: perhaps, I’m not being entirely honest, either. I mean: I really dig a good bit of Lina Scheynius’ work–and she employs close-ups frequently–granted with just enough of a hint of context that you can usual fill-in any requisite blanks.
Come to think of it, the above image is actually something very much in keeping with Scheynius’ work. The perspective, angle of view and how the scene is presented in a fashion which pinpoints a specific, emotionally resonant detail and then provides enough of the surrounding context to insinuate an idea is very much a skill set she exemplifies. (Despite compositional and tonal similarities as well as the implication of bathing/water, it’s definitely not her work–the color is entirely too saturated to be hers.)
I’ve had this image lurking in my drafts for the better part of a year–knowing unequivocally that I am going to absolutely post it at some point.
The trouble is I’ve never really know what to say beyond the above knee-jerk reflection; however, the events of the last three months–in particular–and the last three years in general, render this image especially meaningful at present.
I’ve at least twice (1 + 2) before about how thoroughly amazing my living situation was during my junior year of college. Amadine, who is mentioned in the second post and that’s also not her real name, and I recently reconnected. It was intense–in a wonderful way and the immediacy and profound intimacy of the way we interact with one another has set my brain on fire.
The realization that I’ve come to is that being a severely damaged individual, I seek out others who have also been broken by life. I’ve spent most of my life surrounding myself with folks who have hard eyes and sharpened edges.
More and more, those are not the people I want to share my mind, my energies and my body with. I think that due to growing up in an environment where kind words weren’t offered unless they were inextricably tangled up in bitter, criticism. For example, my parents would always be like: oh, you could be doing so much better at this if you just tried and it’s disappointing for us but it doesn’t make us love you any less. Like what the actual fuck?
Increasingly, I’m attracted to kindness. Amadine was the first person who was ever kind to me seemingly without any sort of selfish motivation. And if I’m being honest, I am more than a bit smitten with her. But our respective situations make these feelings (which have been validated as mutual, or did I imagine a subtext that wasn’t present yet again?) extremely complicated. Also, we are tentatively discussing collaborating on the most ambitious creative project I’ve undertaken in more than a decade…
Really, that’s why I’m finally posting this because the feeling in this image holds a faint glimmer of what it’s like to share time and space with Amadine… for whatever that admission is worth and means to any of you out there.