Donigan Cumming/ Pretty Ribbons

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Donigan Cumming

Some days ago I got a mail from a photo student who knows what I am working on right now.
Her comment on Donigand Cummings work went like this:

“@your blog.
The photographs of the old lady, very nice.
deja vue: to mr. jokay:
you can do that too, but more delicately.”

Mr.Cummings photographs are not about being delicate.
It’s about the invisible naked bodies of old people,
old bodies, among all this nakedness, we only get to see,
if we are involved with them professionally,
or when we have become old enough,
only have to look at ourselves in the mirror.

Mr.Cummings work is about what will be, if it´s not already,
and how we can cope with that.

Young girls are photographed nude, and women too,
as long they are not above 30.
Then, suddenly, this picture taking stops.

Because we don’t want to know about this decay,
which is our fate,
and the ugliness of our body,
when being old.

It´s about our ability to fade out
what we don’t want to know about.

It’s about us,
and about society as a whole,
fading out old age.

A huge blind spot,
as frightening as old age.

Cummings work is not so much about this old lady,
but about our feelings being confronted with this nakedness.

I am noticing my consternation,
looking at this photographs.

And I am noticing,
that clothes do protect,
and I am starting to understand the deeper sense of putting on pants and a shirt, socks and shoes.

And I notice how my image of this old lady is changing,
that she is turning from the spawn of the devils hell into a fragile, cultivated beautiful old lady, only because being dressed.

And I am noticing,
how tender Donigan Cummings images are,
when seen as a sequence.

The color images add tenderness.

I recognize my experiences in the old peoples home,
I recognize my affection to these feeble and invalid old people living in a permanent emergency situation and I recognize my dismay when I see them more or less naked.

How nice would it be,
when my fright would diminish,
and I could find a way to deal with decay, suffering and death in a more composed manner.

To achieve this I have to look
instead of turning a blind eye to what I can see.

Donigan Cumming not only unveils that we don’t want to see,
but the also turns an object into a subject.

He and she,
they collaborate on equal terms.
They share control.

Cumming not only uncovers the body of a woman
but also the act of photography.

Looking at photographs,
we take them for granted,
and forget, that they are made up by the photographer,
that they fictions, not reality.
We tend to forget about that.

And I am musing,
about my politeness,
and about my polite photographs,
and I am musing about the politeness of all these middleclass kids,
well educated at art schools,
churning out well educated, polite and beautiful images.

I am being unfair.

I am finding an echo of Cummings work in my ongoing project.
But I am another.
It’s as simple as that.