Complex political, human and social issues are rarely conceptualized outside the canonical photo-documentary. So I set out to produce a project that reflected on the gaps in understanding, information and representation and the deep rooted anxieties around ethics and aesthetics that inevitably arise when documentary photography and questions of visibility intersect.
Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes was produced following research carried out at the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (INMLCF), in Portugal, over 3 years. A large number of images of images focus on forensic evidence such as suicide letters, crime and suicide tools as well as objects inherent in the work of the pathologist.
The work explores the tension between revelation and concealment, questioning amongst other things, the ethical implications of representing and divulging sensitive material of this nature.
It explores, therefore, a language of subtraction, rather than documentation, obfuscation rather than revelation.
This project proposes therefore to scrutinise the tensions and contradictions inherent in the representation and imagination of death, in particular suicide, and the decisive but deeply paradoxical role that photography – with its epistemological, aesthetic and ethical implications – has played in its intelligibility and perception.
I was interested in seeking answers for questions such as: what distinguishes a documental image of a corpse or a crime scene from an image that reproduces the staged creation of a mental image of a corpse or a crime scene? What effect do these differences have in the viewer’s imagination? What effect do these differences have in the viewer’s imagination and what ethical issues do they raise or resolve?