Sunday, May 31, 2009

Phillip Toledano photography

I have been wondering about how I was going to write about contemporary art in a place like rural Tennessee, where there are lots of eyeball kicks from nature, but few from art. I'm not worried about that anymore. The internet has made art, especially photography, available to everybody in the hinterlands, as well as to the cognoscenti on the coasts.

I found a beautiful piece today by Phillip Toledano. Somehow I got there through the Aperture magazine site. Toledano's piece is a very personal memoir in photographs with text of his time with his father, when his father was very old, until he died at 98. Toledano's mother had already died, but his father had trouble remembering that.

The photographs are square format, so perhaps they were shot with film. They are presented beautifully, on the right of the screen, with text on the left. You simply click on the image to progress through the images. It's like turning pages in a book.

Many of the things that Toledano says about his elderly father rang true for me: the alternating sadness and humor in very old people; the shock at seeing their very old face in the mirror; the constant looking for beloved people, even those who have died; the loss of inhibition in talking about sex; and even the occasional flash of real joy, love, and gratitude for life and having lived.

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