The matter of life and death
The project was made with Mike Ross and it's about life and death, as abstract as it is.
I thank Mike for still bearing with me and Max for taking part on “Into dust” photo and for maintaining fire safety in our flat.
What does the end mean, isn’t it the same as the beginning?
Are there a commencement and a terminal of infinite way, and is this way everlasting? And if it is so, for who?
What does death mean, isn’t it the same?
What is life and what is existence? What determines its conception?
And is the spirit immortal in the final analysis?
The infant, the old, who is wiser? And who is who?
Is this a continuation or something different?
What does the onset mean?
Angels In The Outfield
Mike: I chose this head stone because it suggests that when we die we go to heaven. And the graveyards here as compared to someplace like India are like parks. There were places called the Charnel grounds where there was no room to bury people so they would bring in the dead in a wheelbarrow and giant vultures would eat the bodies. I feel like here we dress up death so people forget about it or imagine that it’s going to be wonderful. On another level, here is this beautiful statue in the middle of a field of dead bodies.
Alena: Death is always a thing that happens with others and somewhere far away. It is possible to be aware of death as something real and inevitable in those minutes when someone nearby dies, or when a person attends a funeral. The Mazzy Star song “Into dust” inspired me for this shot. I’m not so good with words, but it seems to me that this song is exactly about experiencing a death nearby.
Mike: Every morning I have to decide whether to go out or stay inside like millions of others are doing. I can choose to live in fear or live with fear. Maybe the best thing to do is not to read the newspaper! There is an expression that says no news is good news and The New York Post is filled with nothing but bad, especially now.
Alena: I’m not afraid much of my own death although when I think that I may loose the man I love it makes me think I want something to stay. And in fact it’s not something but someone else; a new life.
Mike: I pulled into a small park with a pond and got out of my car for a walk. I saw tulips but most of them were in bad shape from a recent storm. Then I remembered a spot sheltered from the wind in front of a small building, and found a couple of them standing tall and swaying in the light breeze. They seemed so full of life and at the same time very fragile and I knew they would be gone soon. So I took a few photos to remind myself that life is temporary. Whatever happens, however long we are here is not up to us and the only thing to do is live this moment. Someone once said that the meaning of life is that it ends. So be it.
Alena: I like to communicate with people who have seen life. Unfortunately, my grandfathers died long ago and, perhaps I wasn’t able to devote enough time to them. Now, apparently I get this time with other people and I like it. I like to communicate with Mike, because he’s like a book, and while communicating with him I feel a connection with the past which I didn’t see myself.
Mike: I saw these little pigs and was immediately stuck by the miracle of birth. I thought about childhood, youth and old age and how they sort of slip into each other. Then I thought about ham, bacon and pork chops and realized that I was starving.
Hand in hand
Alena: One morning I woke up rather early and I remembered a song by Dolphin called “Она” (She). The song is about life and death and it begins with the line: “Two friends hand in hand, one is never without the other”. I remembered it as “two sisters” and I got an image in my mind. I have two similar blouses, one is white and the other is black so I thought it was perfect. The interesting thing about shooting was… I have only brother but my mom once told me that I could have had a younger brother or sister but the baby wasn’t born. It is so strange, but I’ve never felt like I’m the youngest in our family. This shooting was a sort of meeting in some sense for me. I ended up with thinking how life and death are so often intertwined.