Friday, July 13, 2012

Joachim Froese

I rediscovered the work of Joachim Froese recently and I was touched by the beauty and layered meaning behind this collection of works, 'Portrait of my Mother,' which is at once subtle and profound. 
"In August 2006 my mother in Germany was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As soon as I could I flew over to be with her. From the day of my arrival in Germany she had six more weeks to live which we spent together. She always had been an avid reader and literature played an important part in both of our lives. I had previously often thought about a project involving her library and I soon embarked on the idea to photograph all her books, one after the other in one long row. It quickly became our joint project. At first it made us talk about individual authors and about literature in general but towards her end she could only recognize the objects and family photos I placed amongst the books. While her life was coming to an end the row of books grew and grew. I photographed at night and during the day assembled the pictures on the computer at her bedside as she wanted me to continue with 'our' project until her last moment. After her death I finished the series until all her books were photographed in 'her' order. The resulting work shows an eclectic cross section of literature. But more than that it has become a manifestation of the woman she was, a metaphor for life and a diary of the time I spent with her - a portrait of my mother."

By documenting these images he has sketched a portrait of his mother so lovingly with her books and objects. They reflect the personality of their owner. They are what is left in the after math.

Our books and collections identify us too. We surround ourselves with mementos and books that at once remind us of ourselves, while showing others how we wish to be perceived. I can't help but look at my own belongings with new eyes.
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