To use photography to convey the idea of ‘absence’ would to most people seem redundant but this is the method Camille Lévêque has chosen. To the layman photography is often seen as being about presence, photography says ‘here, look at this’ An article recently posted in Vice Magazine likened photography to ‘pointing’. It is a modern invention used to convey importance of objects, people or moments by appropriation.
Camille Lévêque’s project DADS touches upon so many important philosophical and photographic questions, hit the jump to see the rest.
On the contrary to ‘pointing’, photography can be as equally about absence as it is about what is present in the image. John Berger famously wrote of photography being a balance between absence and presence. “What (photography) varies is the intensity with which we are made aware of the poles of absence and presence” (John Berger, c1972)
“A photograph, whilst recording what has been seen, always and by its nature refers to what is not seen. It isolates, preserves and presents a moment taken from a continuum.” (John Berger, c972)
So this feeling of photography depicting absence is superfluous and in fact the perfect tool for it. Camille refers to it as an ‘ironic’ way of depicting absence, and by extension almost an oxymoron.
The project entitled, DADS is about the loss of a relative and their missing presence. The use of photography in regards to absence is most commonly used as a memento and this is expertly explored through Camille’s work.
“I aim to create a visual discomfort by recreating in a way, pictures I grew up with. They could have been thrown away but remained in the albums, either torn up or cut out which I’ve always found to be quite a powerful statement.”
Camille is redefining her family history by recreating and editing the pictures she grew up with to convey her sense of absence.
“By materialising the absence, one is undeniably transforming it into an actual physical form. One might forget features of a face but remembers the loss or sentiment of emptiness. Dads is a blunt testimony of absence, a disturbing hole in the most powerful piece of evidence.”