Artist’s Commentary on “Being and Nothing”
I’m usually not in the habit of making comments on one of my photos and the possible symbolism involved. When I first shot the photo I was intrigued by the contrasting barrenness of one side of the bathroom wall with the dispenser and toilet rail on the other side.
In retrospect, in lieu of the damage left by the COVID virus, this photo, for me, brought to light some interesting dimensions of 2020.
I tend to associate the beginning of the year, before the virus spread, with the left side of the picture where there are intact objects, familiar objects (ie. the rail, the dispenser, and the assumed toilet, which we don’t see).
I compare the right side of the photo, the barren side, to the aftermath of the virus, the emptiness it left, the deaths it took, the lockdowns and isolation that ensued. There is mostly “nothing” on the right side of the picture, just a wall, a wall of cracked paint. I imagine some paint chips have fallen off. I think of the cracks in our political system, the hypocrisy of leaders, the increasing violence and the encouragement of it, and of course the increasing disparity between the lives of the rich and the poor. Our quality of life has deteriorated.
The feeling this picture leaves me with is a sense of something once being there but now is no longer. Much like the rail on the wall that is doing nothing, supporting nothing, our own supports are slowly being taken away (mob violence, random violence, the eroding of police protection, the encouragement of narcissism and bullying). We can only hope the virus of “nothing” will be stopped in its spread and there will be “being” again. We will be allowed to breathe.
But the viewer is free to see whatever he or she finds in the picture and what it could point to, as far as both the inner and outer world. Or, the reader might just see a “bathroom” and nothing more, and that’s okay too.
Bio: Kyle Hemmings has an MFA in Creative Writing. He’s been published in Sonic Boom, Unbroken Journal, INCH, and elsewhere. He loves spaghetti westerns of the 60s and 70s, especially those with Lee Van Cleef.
Artist’s Statement: I like wondering through my environment using a old LUMIX camera that I bought in Chinatown. I like to capture moments and scenes in a spontaneous manner, hoping to capture the “soul”of the subject. The photos contain ghosts that I believe will continue to haunt.