Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"All about my mother then nothing more" by Noir Barakat

Images by Noir Barakat
"All about my mother then nothing more" is a photographic series by Noir Barakat (officially Elie but Noir is the name he goes by). When I first spotted the series on his breathtaking instagram account, my first reflex was to remember "pictures from home" by Larry Sultan. Sultan chronicles the elderly days of his parents in intimate snapshots, even if his - compared to Barakat's - are more colorful viewing the setting they were taken in. The images that Barakat proposes are more glum in character, but retain the same sense of melancholy and fleeting time that Sultan tries to capture. 
Barakat, in most of his images, resorts to the "how I met your mother" technique - we keep hearing of the mother, see details of her, but rarely if ever spot her. Despite the heavy ambiance, there is also a silver lining, as there is an air of dignity which envelops the photos. Maybe it is a way of trying to stop the inevitable while accepting it, maybe it is a way to cohabit with a trauma without falling apart.
And whereas I am known for my inquisitive nature, I have preferred to shun away from asking too many questions to Barakat. Somehow, I went back to that beautiful line of poetry by Nazek Al Mala'ika which goes "what does the river say? Let the shroud of secrecy thick, if the Chrysanthemum ever revealed its secrets, its tender aroma would be meaningless".
What does the river say? What does Barakat say? What does his mother say? "let the shroud of secrecy thick" for I want the aroma to remain meaningful.

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