Time Regained

The truth will only begin to emerge from the moment that the writer takes two different objects […] and encloses them within the circle of fine style […] unites them in a metaphor.
Time Regained, Marcel Proust*

 

The COVID-19 lockdowns closed the external world and opened the inner world. I had to pause commercial projects and I was able to go ahead with my contemplative photography. Amid self-reflection, I was playing solitaire ​— black on white, stone on water, despair on hope or in another order ​— in this way the project was born. 

On the surface, this is my poem about deserted, nude but always beautiful Venice. However, if look a little deeper, it is about a reader or rather about a viewer. The protagonist of the Proust novel immerses himself in his life memories through external images and things. Similarly, finding metaphors through photographs viewers immerse themselves in their reflections. The photographs go in a certain order like one thought leads to another:

Recovery
Saviour
Leviathan
Cruise ship
Aurora
Crosses
Chained
Reflections
Nakedness
2020-2021

Yes, the time had stopped, however, it was not lost but regained. Flooding amid climate change and environmental challenges are the most topical for Venice and its Lagoon. During the last couple of years, the city showed significant achievements. In 2020 Venice held back the sea for the first time in 1,200 years thanks to the activation of its long-awaited flood barriers MoSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico). The system is expected to be completed in 2022. Venice’s ban on cruise ships is a vital step towards saving the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem. A new city system of tracking visitors will help create a more sustainable tourism plan for the future. 

Lost Time or Regained is a personal choice that extends beyond lockdowns.

*(the 150th anniversary of Proust’s birth in 2021; the 100th anniversary of his death in 2022)

🡓 Click on photos to open the full-screen gallery

Limited edition prints by request
40 x 50 cm
15.75 x 19.69 in
© Eva Vasilyeva 2021

LensCulture review

Eva Vasilyeva is a talented photographer with high aesthetic criteria and a restless spirit. Eva’s series is excellent in every way and, believe me, I have said this only a few times. Images have high technical and artistic quality, the atmosphere is unique, diptychs are successfully structured, and conceptually there is more than one interpretive level. The personal character of her work is obvious and becomes its most crucial feature increasing its authenticity.

The title refers to the metaphorical meaning of the work and the connection with Proust’s famous book is an inspiring one. The statement introduces us to the work and explains the connection nicely. Beyond the above, the personal character of her work is obvious and becomes its most crucial feature increasing its authenticity. What we see here is not an objective presentation of Venice but Eva’s subjective view on it.

Lockdown gave Eva the time to deal with the place in a closer way and her relationship with it helped her to express thoughts and feelings of the specific moment. Eva’s commitment and personal interest in this work are visible in the way she presents Venice while she discovers connections and relationships between the elements of the space around. Photography like every art form proves also its role as a way out of every hard situation. The empty from people but not deserted Venice becomes a metaphor of an inner journey and the pairs of images here could be a symbolism of you and your inner self in a probably unconscious dialogue. I imagine this dialogue like the creation of a poem by two people where one of them writes the first verse and the other matches the second.

Be sure that I will show Eva’s project to my students for many reasons. I wish Eva Vasilyeva good luck, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from her in the future. 

LensCulture, a photography magazine about contemporary photography [link]