Saturday, November 14, 2009

Every now and then...

... I stumble upon an image, idea or poignant sentence that changes things. In this case, I was looking around for Death Masks (something I've been interested in for a while) and I found L'Inconnue de la Seine (French for “the unknown woman of the Seine”). It's a fascinating story - irrelevant of it's truth or otherwise - and I like the dynamic of how it's influenced artists, writers and the like.

A few years ago I was playing around with the idea that photographs are like death masks or tombstones. This is similar to an idea that I read (heard?) once where someone in the 19th century equated the photographic image to an Exuviae* - literally a 'pealing' of he/she who has been imaged.

I'm not so sure anymore about the appropriateness or robustness of the analogy but I can still see the virtues of how a mask indicates pose and lack of context and a tombstone/obit might be an ideological construction.

* I've now got another new word that I can't pronounce: 'Exuviae is a term used in biology to describe the remains of an exoskeleton that is left after an arthropod (insect, crustacean or arachnid) has moulted.' (source: wiki)

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