By Jorge Fuentelsaz
New York, May 31 (EFE).- The intoxicating passion of a new relationship, betrayal, narcissistic love, violence, intimacy, politics, sex and devotion through illness and past death are some of the themes captured in photographs by 16 international artists which will be on display beginning Friday at New York’s International Center of Photography Museum (ICP).
“Love Songs, Photography and Intimacy” is the name of this exhibition conceived of as an old “cassette” on which songs were compiled as a present for a friend, relative or lover, exhibition curator Sara Raza told EFE.
She said she envisioned the exhibit as a way to rethink different kinds of relationships, and what that really means, thereby moving beyond the romantic version of how we think about love and intimacy.
Raza explained that, in putting together the exhibition, she was also interested in including and exploring different ways of recording, whether it be global, local, digital or analog.
Among the works on display, Raza emphasized that of US photographer Clifford Prince King, one of whose photos is on the cover of the exhibition’s catalog showing two young men seated on a grassy hill in the country and embracing.
It’s a photograph full of color that plays with the public, with LGBT love, with privacy, what is noticed and what is hidden, the urban world and rural spaces.
Also standing out among the photos in the exhibit are shots by Japan’s Nobuyoshi Araki, a series that dates back to 1971 and is made up of photos of his honeymoon with his wife Yoko Aoki. On the opposite wall is another of Araki’s photo series from 1989-1990 documenting Aoki’s illness and death.
The heartbreaking and violent love of US photographer Nan Goldin has also earned a place in the exhibit, which was put on display for the first time at the Maison Euopeenne de la Photographie (MEP) in Paris.
For this show, however, Raza has added five new artists to give it a more American accent and include a new layer – namely one “beyond romantic love” that is more political and more international.
The sad, naked look of Angel Zinovieff, the partner of photographer Collier Schorr, is also included in the extensive catalog, where works dating back to the 1950s are combined with more recent photos.
That’s the case with Franco-Dominican photographer Karla Hiraldo Voleau, who in her 2022 work “Another Love Story” presents a hybrid viewpoint between photography and narrative, where her own real-life experience is mingled with fiction.
In several photo panels, Hiraldo presents photos of her year-long romantic relationship with a former partner: trips, visits to the beach and taking baths together, chats at home and in bars, intimate moments in their room. These images all depict a happy relationship full of love, as recorded on Instagram.
And yet, between each group of Hiraldo’s photos a telephone conversation is interspersed in which the artist and another girl simultaneously discover that they are sharing the same lover without knowing it.
It’s a very tragic love story, Hiraldo told EFE, about how she found out that her ex-partner simultaneously had a life with another woman.
These are real photos, although the face of her “ex” is not seen, with snapshots that reproduce real moments where the person shown is an actor paid by Hiraldo and not, in fact, her former lover, with whom she shared an apartment for a year.
“It’s an auto-fiction,” she said, adding that she loves putting herself in between reality and fiction, erasing the border between what’s real and what is not, because, especially, in this project, “I didn’t know (the difference) either.”
Hiraldo’s work, and that of the other photographers, seeks to capture the complexities, elusiveness and subjectivity of love – Raza said – along with its inability to be quantified, its chemistry and incompleteness, the absence of some of its frequencies, just like the songs that are not included on those cassette tapes we made for others.