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Showing posts from June, 2012

The Little Girl Lost

* Cecil Beaton, Eileen Dunne the Blitz Victim (1940)


( It is a wonder of how Cecil Beaton, a renowned fashion photographer of his time, would tackle upon war photography at the first place. Beaton made no secrets of his obsession with freaks, but rather than a compulsive collector of monsters like Arbus, beauty and aesthetics could be considered or rendered freakish in his photography. That more or less explains why Beaton opted for the traumatic aftermath of the war-stricken victims, than the gilded fa├žades of the flawless models. Beaton had the magic of turning something unpleasant into something beautiful, or something hauntingly intimate, which only permits appreciation in private. )


The little girl has been lost for weeks and not a trace is found despite the effort of all villagers. Also absent, too, but for some days, are the little girl’s parents, who, cloistering in their remote abode, decline all kindness and premature condolences. For sure the aged couple have every ri…

The Prodigal Son

* Joachim Patinir, Landscape with St. Jerome (1515-1519)

(Joachim Patinir was perhaps one of the pioneers in Western art who made landscape the main spectacle of his paintings. Unable to eschew wilfully from the tradition, the themes of Patinir’s paintings are still predicated on biblical narratives. Yet the lionized deities are mostly dwarfed by the grandiosity of the landscapes, which are often divided by several rock formations. The rocks look sharp and precipitous which makes the painting an unnerving sight. The mood of Patinir’s landscape painting resides more on the predicaments of the Middle Ages than the chequered, gilded wonder of the Renaissance the painter was born to. That explains why I have always seen Patinir’s painting as an indirect memento mori.)

Cleanliness and clarity dominate the wintery tone of the village. The stillness of the air makes the time seemingly trapped in a hapless warp. In addition to the stasis is the absence of snow which heralds no festiv…