LAURA MAKABRESKU: A SOFT, MACABRE TOUCH

Written by Karolina Rybačiauskaitė. trans­lated by Klaidas Stasiūnas

During the inter­view with Laura I real­ized, that I can­not con­tinue on search­ing for stor­ies behind her pho­to­graphs – it simply wasn’t the way to do this. If I were to reveal all the answers to the ques­tions Laura asks in her works, I’d steal the ele­ment of sur­prise off each of you. I became aware of this subtle lack of taste quite late; the true essence of her work – the macabre fairy tales hid­den within her pho­tos came alive to me, and I real­ized how the author feels them. Thus, it would be more appro­pri­ate for me to tell the tale of Laura’s world in such a way that it would leave you with noth­ing else but ques­tions to which Laura’s pho­to­graphs would be the answers.

Laura Makabresku is a 24 year old pho­to­grapher from Poland. She’s cur­rently resid­ing in the city of Krakow, study­ing Polish lit­er­at­ure. Laura describes her­self in the fol­low­ing way:

I don’t have any­thing in com­mon with myself. I’m a poet and an owl. I’m the sens­it­ive­ness and the empty space. Sometimes I feel that I grew up beside death.

Every human and animal, every skin crack and spot has its own place in her pho­tos. And the pain those objects help to cre­ate is most often obscure, some­times – barely notice­able. Why is it that those objects stare at us? It appears as if the bor­der sep­ar­at­ing the observer and the photo, where the move­ment is cap­tured, fades. Then again, there is no move­ment – it all seems life­less, or per­haps, life is the only word that can describe what is pictured.

What is the exact nature of this life that Laura is try­ing to show us? What kinds of spe­cies are being por­trayed, and why are they here?

In Laura’s pho­tos life flows in and out through forests, humans, waters and earth. Inanimate objects in her pho­tos are placed in the medium of the liv­ing – as if they are try­ing to be resur­rec­ted, rean­im­ated. Typically objects are frozen in time, quiet and calm, sus­pi­ciously sens­it­ive and sus­pi­ciously emo­tional. Women in her pho­tos are try­ing to real­ize, under­stand, become aware of their being, they urge to feel alive, thus they touch them­selves, try to inflict pain. It all hurts.

Every wound, tear is real. They are mine. And every photo sep­ar­ately I treat as my own spir­itual child.

Laura Makabresku says that her main source of inspir­a­tion is fairytales; her nick­name is a cumu­lat­ive of hid­den fairytale motifs, while her pho­tos are a way of com­mu­nic­at­ing with her­self – a search for some­thing she longs for. It seems to me that her pho­tos are really open to their viewer. In an overly sens­it­ive way, some­times with the help of the words, they scratch at one’s long­ing, a very fem­in­ine long­ing for some­thing that could be hid­den in let­ters, nature, life and oneself.

If I could, I’d wear for you a scar after heart

Laura’s choice of fairytales is based on the dual­ity of the sub­ject – beau­ti­ful stor­ies and grot­esque imagery. On of the most import­ant of such, she says are “The Brothers Grimm”.

Such double nature is an essence of not only what I cre­ate, but also of me as a woman.

Undoubtedly, inspir­a­tion also comes from love as the main source of the feel­ing of being alive and liv­ing. I did not ques­tion the kind of love she was talk­ing about; I could only see the sad stor­ies scattered in her photos.

What are the pho­to­graphs telling me about? I ask myself without a slight­est desire to find an answer – it all seems unreal, everything is life­less, even humans are dead. Such a strong force comes through like an emo­tional shock, dis­in­teg­rat­ing every nar­rat­ive, leav­ing only illus­tra­tions of what life once was. It’s only when I look at them, without think­ing – I feel, just like Laura:

But when I put the vis­ion into an image — for a second or two ir all starts to be quiet and calm. I breathe.

I think that’s a fairytale on its own.

More about Laura Makabresku here.

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