in My Work, Project 4. FINAL pt. 2



Unbearable lightness is a series of photographs based on Milan Kundera’s classic 1984 novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I imagine that these are the film stills  if the novel was produced as a moody art film (hypothetically shot on film obviously).

When I first read the novel, it felt like a strange dream sequence that was at once extremely mundane but also simultaneously vivid, distorted, and poignant. This was the quality that I wanted to evoke in the photo series, so the images contain a variation of close up and wide shots with a mixture of subjects. I chose to shoot common objects, made uncommon by removing their context and associating them with text and a set of different visuals (and of course by manipulating and/or enhancing the ambient lighting in post).

The images (and hypothetical film they’re taken from) runs on a timeline starting from sunset to after dark. The quality and sources of light change from the natural, the warm and golden, to the artificial, cool-toned neons of late night.

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For the first 7 photos that make up the sunset/evening part of the series, I mostly used highlight and shadow masks to play with the lighting. All images have some sort of colour balance and/or selective colour treatment just to enhance what was already present. For the photos didn’t have as much of that warm tone that I wanted, I used orange and magenta filters in combination with masking to bring out the warmth.

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The remaining photos were more colourful that the first 7. In addition to playing with colour, I also had to pay attention to desaturating and lowering the contrast of the photos so that they wouldn’t be as jarring, and the lights came across softer.

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[ In print, the photos weren’t as vibrant as on screen and also had some unfortunate colour banding. Some of the more subtle colours were also lost and I hadn’t accounted for that while editing :'( ]

set #1

In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.

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set #2

Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.

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set #3

Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion.