Guest Post

Guest Post | Cicadas

I was made separate,
by the picture on the wall.
Being all that I had.
Without memories...
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I think it was the sound of Cicadas.

In hindsight, that summed up feeling alone.

I see myself alone,

from behind, sitting on the curb.

That’s how I see my childhood

Now when I hear cicadas

I can feel what I didn’t know then.

I was made separate,

by the picture on the wall.

Being all that I had.

Without memories.

It gave me only proxy grief.

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Roeg Cohen is a photographer based in New York.

Guest Post | The Light's Are On, Somebody's Home

You aren’t alone. There are others, just within eyeshot, who are sharing this same night with you. You’ve never met a lot of them, but they’re here too.

My childhood dream was to be an architect. When I was little, I loved math and drawing, and for who-knows-what reason, adolescent-me was wooed by sharp angles and repeating rows of windows -- the siren song of post-modern minimalism.

Truth be told, four years into my legal adulthood, not much has changed. Just the other day, curving around the perimeter of Paris on my night commute home from Saint-Cloud, the glow of high-rise office buildings was enough to set my heart aflutter. 

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Any time I find myself in a grand ol’ sky-scraping downtown area, it sparks flashes of theoretical lives -- could be as simple as a particular desk lamp, a stack of books, the way the shutters are drawn. I know I'm not alone in this feeling -- not only because of the established understanding that I'm not unique, but from conversations with people who have said they’ve wondered the same thing, passing by homes and stores and other various and sundry workplaces.

As a whole, I think the light emanating out of these buildings is so enchanting because of its inherent message: You aren't alone. There are others, just within eyeshot, who are sharing this same night with you. You've never met a lot of them, but they're here too.

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So, whether it’s an industrial complex, or a suburban neighbourhood, a biting comment scrawled onto an ad on the metro, or a dog patiently awaiting its owner outside a store, my underlying ‘goal’ is to communicate what those houses communicated to Little Me: brief bursts of insight into the lives of others. A comforting assurance that there’s a whole wide world out here, and people are texturing it with things like witty retorts to advertising and well-trained domestic animals.

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I can’t speak much to the loneliness of small towns, but I know firsthand that, perhaps counterintuitively, living in a big city can be exceptionally isolating. Technically, you are constantly surrounded by millions of people in a hustling, bustling urban space, but there could be days where you see no one. Talk to no one.

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I’ve had those days.

If my art accomplishes anything, anything at all, I can only hope it operates as a signal to others -- that we, band of internet-surfers, may not be together in the same physical space, but we are far from alone.
 

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Autumn Palen is an American writer/photographer currently based in Paris. 

Guest Post | Innerweltraum

My innerweltraum is a secret place. The place where my too shy self finally feels at ease.  I’m a woman of few words. I’m always on the verge of saying - but I don’t. Silence envelops me in her cloak. I nestle in it. The words trickle back down my throat. And that tension builds up in my innerweltraum. Longings and fears seem to converge to that little space.
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Innerweltraum.

Consisting of two German words: inner and weltraum. Inner and space.

One’s inner space world.

Compounded by William H. Gass.

Since I’ve come across the made-up word in a book, it won’t leave my mind. It’s the word I never found to delineate the constant tension, the stream of restlessness in me. I whisper its guttural, foreign syllables over and over as I’m writing this. How to explain what it means to me?

My innerweltraum is a secret place. The place where my too shy self finally feels at ease.  I’m a woman of few words. I’m always on the verge of saying - but I don’t. Silence envelops me in her cloak. I nestle in it. The words trickle back down my throat. And that tension builds up in my innerweltraum. Longings and fears seem to converge to that little space.

Photography is an essential part of my life. It’s the link between the here and the there. I don’t capture spontaneity.  Instead, when my hands pick up the camera, I feel an imperative desire to create narratives. Like a spider patiently weaves her web to capture flies, I weave stories to perhaps grasp a fragment of the innerweltraum.

The narratives are unfinished, ambiguous. They are like half erased poems, suggesting instead of meaning. But that’s perfect this way. Ferociously private, I’ll only show parts of my world elusively. Photography is my way of saying. It’s still a murmur, but it’s growing louder and louder with each picture I create.

I invoke the innerweltraum, take a photograph. Click. The tension releases for a moment. 


Héloïse Huynh is a photographer from Montreal.

Model: Tina Wang

Guest Post | Female Gaze

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In movies it’s never like that. You know I think that movies are a conspiracy. I mean it, they are actually a conspiracy because they set you up for it. They set you up from the time you are a little kid, they set you up to believe in everything. They set you up to believe in ideals and strength and good guys and romance and of course love. So you believe it, right, you go out, you start looking, it doesn’t happen, you keep looking.
— Gena Rowlands // Minnie Moskowitz // John Cassavetes
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Teach the girls that we were taught to look at pictures through the eyes of a man,
Alone in the dark room of a cinema where each spectator builds dreams & fantasies,
Our empathy with the hero is always a he,
and we frame a woman's body as a man would.
I am calling out for Laura Mulvey* and
learning to trust my own gaze,
peeling off my mind those male blankets
that were put in front of my head.
How is a girl looking
at other girls
at men
at the world.
Gaze at girls, gaze at their breasts,
their thighs, their legs
like watching a man’s hand, a torso,
a cup of coffee or a cigarette.
Is it because our sex is hidden that every other part of our body has to be sexualized?
Is it so scary that we don’t have any visual form that says I have desire like a hard dick.

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* Laura Mulvey « visual pleasure and narrative cinema »

Caroline Ruffault is a French photographer born in Brittany. She started film photography and dark room work at the age of 12 to avoid lunch at the middle school cafeteria. After studying cinema at the school of media, critical & creative arts in Liverpool, she worked as a director assistant and a production manager for television and some advertising agencies. Four years ago, she moved from Paris to Austin and bought an old 35mm Rolleiflex to make sense of a strange world. She fell in love with the magic of film, the wait and the sweetness of the grain. She likes stories and poetry, decors and strange light. Caroline just moved back to France this summer.

Guest Post | All Weaknesses

I had found myself as an opposite to romance, empathy and subtlety and yet I felt like I was full of those, but the bizarreness inside me would not let them out in everyday life.
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I am in constant need of being around people. Once I was told that expressing ones emotions, particularly those not most cheerful, is to show all of the weaknesses you have. Since that moment, a sense of independence and self-sufficiency has grown inside me. It has grown to the point that when I started to understand my emotions, I realised that showing them is just a part of being fragile which is a part of being human. 

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I was not able to show them anymore. I had found myself as an opposite to romance, empathy or subtlety, and yet I felt like I was full of those, but the bizarreness inside me would not let them out in everyday life. This is the moment photography helped me. I feel like my photographs are my testimony to the world, of having emotions inside. I am not sure I understand them completely as I do not understand myself completely yet, but every time I pick up the roll and see that what was in my head earlier was achieved in my photographs, I do not feel much of a satisfaction neither I am proud. I feel calm and peace. These photos calm me down and give hope for one day to be able to express myself in real life, like I do now through my photographs.

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I am constantly developing. This time last year I could not imagine sharing my art with other people, especially those who are close to me. I would feel ashamed, of myself, of showing too much of my personal and intimate side. The moment they accepted it made me realise I do not need anybody's acceptance as permission to do what I am doing. I only have to stay true to myself, and wait for the moment when I will be able to convey how I feel through my words, instead of just my photographs.

Karina Waliczek is a 23 year old photographer born in Siemianowice Śląskie, Poland, and currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark.