I've Got You Under My Skin

By Ina Lounguine

Using a wedding photo album - purchased in a yard sale - as the basis of my work imparts a universal quality to my intention. This album with no identity could tell the story of absolutely anyone and everybody and is the deeply sad evidence of a failed relationship. Aiming to challenge the relationship we have to photography as the visual documentation of fact, I distort the information the image gives away and the keys we have to analyse it. Using the negative layer of the image symbolically turns the story upside down, highlights its dark aspect and darkens its light.

This switch of elements of light takes greater resonance in such a holy setting that is a wedding. Typical immoderate display and staged representation of love, the whole ceremony is widely photographed, freezing on paper the climax of relationship commitment. Though we tend to over document and overexpose our lives, images are the tip of the iceberg from our stories. The surface we decide to show off.

By the use of Braille, I intend to bring another layer of information to the image. Both informative and disruptive, this element emphasises the various reading degrees we can have of a picture while symbolising scars and wounds, by the aggression of the paper’s surface. Now visible, these scars relate another story, darker, sadder, unknown and so far, unseen. With almost endless interpretation, the input of braille on these pictures can illustrate our facility to overlook things we see, our difficulties to comprehend relationships, or even looking away from an abusive relationship. Far from a dramatic statement, I intend to keep a playful tone in my work, and could sum up this piece by tackling the idiotic adage "Love is blind." Could we then love what we don’t see? Do we love by lack of knowledge?

This piece can be read on several scales, different approaches can be considered for its presentation. Exhibited for instance, the image resonates differently if the embossed image is printed on a flat sheet of paper and framed, or embossed directly on the print and left available for the audience to touch. With these options of presentation, the relationship to our senses is challenged and we question our faculty to feel, read, and see as well as our ways of communication, which can ostracise blind people, in the virtual world especially. This particular aspect brings us to analyse the ironic lack of connection between a blind person and a virtual world and the truthful existence of invisible things. Doesn’t one base one's faith on what one sees?

In this work, a sighted audience has several keys of reading which assembled together produce a fussy image, while a blind audience only has one, extremely clear, revealing a completely different story. Under the fingers appears parts of some of the saddest love songs of the Blues. Blues that can find an echo in the significant presence of the colour blue in the images.