Mark Berghash

1. Mother and Daughter 2. Chrissy and John, U.S.A, 1984

2 black & white photographs 113x186

In this portrait two people who have a significant relationship choose a pose which they feel best characterizes their feelings towards each other. Berghash begins by photographing on polaroid film, poses worked out in collaboration with his subjects. The complete image is created collaboratively and a six-part grid is superimposed. The artist then photographs each segment separately. The images are assembled uncropped, resulting in fragmentation, repetition and distortion, which produce an unusually revealing depiction of the subjects and their relationship.

“When will it end? He was utterly exhausted from the squirming and the phony smiles and the whispering onion; and also from this new effort he had to make, because for the first time he had understood with his brain how intricately conversations are woven and how many invisible threads there are in the corners of a smile... where were we, ah yes, he'd always thought it was a family sham, but today a thin membrane seemed to peel from his
eyes and he could see something new here, a delicate beauty, even compassion, because everyone knew everyone else's secrets, everyone was a hostage in someone else's hands, at their mercy or their cruelty... and you have to be so careful and conscientious in order to make a single statement without hurting or shaming someone... but the air was full of tiny darts, phrases waiting to burst with poison, compliments with false bottoms, the caress of
secrets shared, and carefully circumvented topics.
These he discerned, as he opened his eyes to them in benevolent wonder.”

David Grossman, The Book of Intimate Grammar