Inspired by Ivory Diptych with the Virgin and Child and the Crucifixion, c. 1350.
We chose the Ivory Diptych with the Virgin and Child because we liked the contrast of death and life in it and the intricate stories. The diptych is quite versatile, there is a lot you can do with it. We loved the purity of the ivory and the immaculate way it is carved.
We liked the idea that the person who made it was unknown; it added mystery to the work. We also liked that the diptych was kept close for protection but told a story inside it, a story that is precious and personal. We researched gothic ivory collections and found out that this diptych would have been made in Paris, in the 14th century, when Paris was the main centre for ivories. It was also a time where society was deeply religious. We think this diptych would have most probably been in the possession of a powerful high-ranking church man.
We decided to do our photography as a journey through life, with the figure of the shroud as a recurrent element. We were also inspired by Mina Sarenac’s, Bill Brandt and Araki photography. We experimented with film although our final work is digital.
We created a photographic triptych representing the three stages of life: birth, relationship and death. The three images also tell the story of how you’re born alone, have relationships and die alone.
To mirror this we also worked with light, so the first stage of life is light, getting darker towards the final stage.
The images are of a body covered in a shroud, the first one being in a foetal position with the sheet over the person. The second one has two people embracing in the same shroud. The last one is a body levitating, floating in the air.
The images are black and white because of the light to darkness theme but also to symbolise the black and whiteness of the ivory diptych: the white of the ivory and dark of the ebony (which is the backbone of the diptych).