When photographer Jennifer Loeber’s mother died, Loeber began to photograph her belongs as a way of coping with her grief. She matched her photos with vintage pictures that her father had taken of her mother and posted the pairs on Instagram. The resulting series, “Left Behind,” is a poignant memorial, both deeply personal and universal.
The everyday objects that remain when loved one dies become an instant museum of sorts, freezing that person in time. A favorite pearl ring will never be replaced by a diamond; an unmatched glove will never be matched to its mate. A used lipstick, valueless in itself, becomes a cherished object, chosen and applied by the person so missed. Many times these everyday objects are the most touching and the most difficult to dispose of.
“I found myself deeply overwhelmed by the need to keep even the most mundane of my Mom’s belongings when she died suddenly this past February. Instead of providing comfort and good memories they became a source of deep sadness and anxiety and I knew the only way I would be able to move past that was to focus on a way to interact with them cathartically. I had recently become active on Instagram and realized that utilizing the casual aspects of sharing on the app was a way to diminish my own sentimentality towards the objects my Mom left behind.”
Reframing the objects allowed Loeber to experience them without searing grief. Instead of the items feeling haunted, they became imbued by fond memories of her mother’s life. By matching them with her father’s photos she was able to make a fitting memorial to her mother, one that was less about personal pain than about remembrance.
“My dad refused to hold a traditional funeral service because he and I believe you should celebrate a life, not mourn it. I’m sure this body of work falls in line with that concept.” (Source)
The internet is currently swarming with stories, tributes, and memorials to the late, great Robin Williams who passed 3 days ago. Some people may not know that in addition to being an actor, comedian, activist, and improv performer, Williams was also an unabashed lover of video games, comic books, and graphic novels, and that this loss resonates throughout these communities as well. Yesterday, Nick Gazin over at Vice posted crowd-sourced illustrations that pay tribute to the performer, his characters, and his life. (via vice)
The Connecticut-based artist Dalton M. Ghetti carves mind-glowingly small sculptures atop the tips of pencils. Bored with carving larger objects, the sculptor invented this delightfully miniature medium to draw the eye to the pleasures of the minuscule; in a world where bigger is generally thought to be better, his work reminds us that sometimes the most magical things can spring forth from right under our noses. Ghetti uses sewing needles and razor blades as carving tools, and he works by holding the pencil steady beneath a direct light source like a lamp. Due to the required precision and effort, a single piece may take months or even years to finish.
Ghetti’s work contains a charming childlike curiosity and innocence, one that is maintained in part by his staunch refusal to sell or profit financially from his creations. The pencil is an artistic medium in itself, and by carving it, the artist shifts our perspective and subverts our understanding of what constitutes fine art. Furthering this whimsical challenge to the visual arts cannon, Ghetti avoids fancy pencils, using only recycled or discarded pencils that he finds on the street. The subject matter of his sculptures is also delightfully regular; by carving these everyday objects—a saw, a hammer, a spool of thread— he elevates the seemingly mundane.
Ghetti’s most ambitious piece is his 9/11 memorial. For the project, titled 3,000 tears, the artist carved 3,000 tiny teardrops from pencil graphite. Each tear took approximately an hour to make, and the entire work was in progress for a decade. Together, the tears form one large drop. Take a look. (via KoiKoiKoi)
A memorial to the victims of the worst mass shootings in modern history was recently announced, as the country revealed the selection of a design by Jonas Dahlberg. Almost three years ago on the island of Utøya, Norway, a gunman set off several bombs and killed 77 people. Rather than erecting a building or edifice in remberence, Dahlberg’s submission chose to focus on nature itself, separating the end of the island with a man-made fjord where the shooting took place. Across the channel, the names of the victims will be etched in stone, which will be seen by visitor’s in the viewing area. Separated from them physically, Dahlberg explained, “The concept for the Memorial Sørbråten proposes a wound or a cut within nature itself. It reproduces the physical experience of taking away, reflecting the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died.”
The Swedish designer’s submission was unanimously selected (his project description can be read in full here) Dahlberg explained the presence and loaded feelings upon visiting the future building site, “An emotional observation informs my overall concept. During the initial site visit to Utøya, I noticed how different the feeling was of walking outside in nature, compared to the feeling of walking through the rooms of the main building. The experience of seeing the vacant rooms and the traces of extreme violence brought me — and others around me — to a state of profound sadness. In its current state, the building kept close within it the memory of the terror acts of July 22, 2011. Like an open wound.” (via gizmodo)
These sculptures are made from the bones of dead people. The photographic portraits of these sculptures are made by Arne Svenson. What results is Unspeaking Likeness, a strangely captivating series of death portraits, collected here.
For four years, Svenson sojourned from coroner’s offices to law enforcement agencies allover the country, snapping photographs of facial reconstruction sculptures which were built by forensic artists and molded from unidentifiable victims’ skeletal remains, with the intention of resolving crimes.
The narrative hidden behind each “face” is a mystery, and, as viewers, our own hearts tense with sadness when considering each subject’s lurid last moments of life. It’s almost too much; so, we reject the idea of reconstruction in relation to rejuvenation. It feels psychological, how we need to detach. The “face” in the context of Svenson’s portraits are not representative of an emotional life nor physical body; instead, it’s a mask or doll with a troubling echo, seemingly touched by the hands of Frankenstein.
Evie Woltil Richner is a Florida based artist. She combines personal family photographs with feathery shroud like drawings creating a beautiful monument to memorialize family members that have passed on.