Discover more from Tender Photo
On photographs by Kwena Chokoe, Immaculata Abba, and Katia Golovko, previously featured on Tender Photo.
There are marks of human presence in all three photographs. “A limb animated the scene; to whom it belongs matters little,” is how Kwena Chokoe puts it. Only one of these spaces—the room photographed by Immaculata Abba—can be said to be entirely bereft of attention, flourishing with neglect.
Yet, when the ghosts of another time are evoked in a photographic metaphor, they often have the tendency to turn literal. The photograph becomes, for Abba, a reminder of her loss: “My parents gave birth to their first son and only after eleven years, he died in an avoidable plane crash.”
As in the four chairs in Katia Golovko’s photograph, absence can be illustrated with a degree of symmetry that it would seem to have some shape. Either the chairs have been abandoned by those who once sat on them or are kept for future sitters. Since neither fact is given, it is reasonable to go with the latter option, to imagine the scene as an indication of a prolonged wait.
“I love how consistent and predictable and familiar his home is. And yet I always find something beautiful and new that captures my attention,” notes Chokoe about visiting her aged grandfather. It is a sentiment heavy with gratitude for the accouterments of a full life. Perhaps it is equally an awareness of items that might, sooner or later, pass into inattention.
This is the #1 edition of CONCORDANCE, a series of micro-essays I’m writing in response to sequences of photographs previously featured on the newsletter. These notes, inspired by CORRESPONDENCES, will point to affinities in style, mood, or theme between the tendered photos. The series will run for an initial period of 2 months (June 3—July 29).
Tender Photo is a bi-weekly newsletter on African photography, published Wednesdays and Saturdays. See the archive for more features on early to mid-career photographers. If this newsletter was shared with you, consider subscribing, or forward to a friend. Please whitelist the newsletter to ensure you never miss it.