I called this set “Another pandemic Easter (2021)”. Something that came into my mind while editing, and not really during the shoot.
So besides the Easter theme, the photos may not have a lot of drama, narrative one may think. Just some cute Easter portraits with Antonella wearing a bunny mask. But thinking about it for or a minute, intentionally or unintentionally. What’s the inspiration. Artwork should have some kind of story. Don’t you always guess what the artist had in mind when they created their work and aren’t you always so right with your explanation? Did it ever come to your mind that he had simply nothing in mind. Nada, nix and … maybe that’s exactly the narrative. Emptiness… the void.
I was always strongly believing that a photo has to tell a story. Framed in 8×12 or other formats, 30.4 mexapixels. 30,400,000 white dots to be filled with an idea in a split of a second – every few pixels brainpower, neurons and glia. Projected thru your eyes, the viewfinder and back thru the lens onto the sensor. Well calculated and still a lot of randomness, never the same – even if you would try.
Maybe not one, but five, six or seven photos for your story. A good photographer would be able to do just 1 and maybe use the other photos as chapters of a whole. I always believed in that. My dad taught me that. But what if there is no story to capture. If there is just a white canvas in your mind that doesn’t show any structures, texture, colors anything, not a little spot besides the dust particle on the sensor which maximizes to a grey blurry shadow in every photo you take.
Besides that the canvas will stay white. I remember as a kid watching my dad easily turning white paper into photos just by putting them into some colorful trays with liquid. Still white in my mind. Still.
Just dust it off you would say. Maybe the photographer is okay with it and doesn’t want to intentionally break other things by dusting off that particle. It’s a very expensive camera, he says. The only gear he has that’s working reliably. And he takes care of it. So nobody knows. It will be easily edited if he wants. And nobody will find out. The photos don’t show duct-taped strobe stands, the collection of strobes, that literally exploded during various shoot with no funds to repair, the broken windows in the studio. Nobody knows.
Maybe it’s part of the picture and what’s going on in his mind. Leave the dust particle. It’s part of your story. Just like a tattoo or a scar. Dust particles will leave a diffused shadow.
And then there is Easter. The second Easter in the pandemic. The artist wants to show us what’s going on, the mask has a relation. Associate it. Don’t take it off, it may help other people survive. And then there is the world’s stupidity hence the bunny which by the myth isn’t the smartest animal. Stupid people think they are smart. The white stands for white, the anti-color that made headlines the past year s– especially here in the USA. That would be a good description of the work.
Three of my models passed away in 2020. Scars. I left to Germany for a month to spend some time with my dad. Leaving him and knowing I would never see him again was the most difficult thing I ever had to do, One month later he passed away. I watched his funeral in an online live stream. Scars.
My brain is as white as a canvas, not a fresh canvas. A canvas painted over with remains of pictures not fully covered by the paint. Maybe another layer of paint. But who cares. Just some Easter bunny portraits I say. “Sem Sentido” (Portuguese for meaningless or nonsensical) as VOGUE Portugal editors once named one of my editorials in their magazine. So these are just Easter bunny photos you will say, even after trying to interpret what the artist had in mind, you will NEVER know the whole story – everything packed in 30.4 megapixels.
About Thomas H.P. Jerusalem
Thomas H.P. Jerusalem of MUTE photography is a German photographer based in Chicago, USA. He is represented by Art+Commerce/VOGUE NYC, Motion Licensing, London UK and gallery represented by YELLOWKORNER (worldwide) and LemonFRAME.
Antonella Nuzzo, the girl behind the mask is a model from Chicago and closely working together with Thomas Jerusalem since January this year. Together they have already hit numerous publications in the US and internationally including VOGUE Italia’s PhotoVOGUE. [Official Website]